Gene Summary

Gene:OLIG2; oligodendrocyte transcription factor 2
Aliases: BHLHB1, OLIGO2, RACK17, PRKCBP2, bHLHe19
Summary:This gene encodes a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor which is expressed in oligodendroglial tumors of the brain. The protein is an essential regulator of ventral neuroectodermal progenitor cell fate. The gene is involved in a chromosomal translocation t(14;21)(q11.2;q22) associated with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Its chromosomal location is within a region of chromosome 21 which has been suggested to play a role in learning deficits associated with Down syndrome. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:oligodendrocyte transcription factor 2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 13 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 13 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 13 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: OLIG2 (cancer-related)

Dermawan JK, Hitomi M, Silver DJ, et al.
Pharmacological Targeting of the Histone Chaperone Complex FACT Preferentially Eliminates Glioblastoma Stem Cells and Prolongs Survival in Preclinical Models.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(8):2432-42 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
The nearly universal recurrence of glioblastoma (GBM) is driven in part by a treatment-resistant subpopulation of GBM stem cells (GSC). To identify improved therapeutic possibilities, we combined the EGFR/HER2 inhibitor lapatinib with a novel small molecule, CBL0137, which inhibits FACT (facilitates chromatin transcription), a histone chaperone complex predominantly expressed in undifferentiated cells. Lapatinib and CBL0137 synergistically inhibited the proliferation of patient-derived GBM cells. Compared with non-stem tumor cells (NSTC) enriched from the same specimens, the GSCs were extremely sensitive to CBL0137 monotherapy or FACT knockdown. FACT expression was elevated in GSCs compared with matched NSTCs and decreased in GSCs upon differentiation. Acute exposure of GSCs to CBL0137 increased asymmetric cell division, decreased GSC marker expression, and decreased the capacity of GSCs to form tumor spheres in vitro and to initiate tumors in vivo Oral administration of CBL0137 to mice bearing orthotopic GBM prolonged their survival. Knockdown of FACT reduced the expression of genes encoding several core stem cell transcription factors (SOX2, OCT4, NANOG, and OLIG2), and FACT occupied the promoters of these genes. FACT expression was elevated in GBM tumors compared with non-neoplastic brain tissues, portended a worse prognosis, and positively correlated with GSC markers and stem cell gene expression signatures. Preferential targeting of GSCs by CBL0137 and synergy with EGFR inhibitors support the development of clinical trials combining these two agents in GBM. Cancer Res; 76(8); 2432-42. ©2016 AACR.

Diamandis P, Ferrer-Luna R, Huang RY, et al.
Case Report: Next generation sequencing identifies a NAB2-STAT6 fusion in Glioblastoma.
Diagn Pathol. 2016; 11:13 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Molecular profiling has uncovered genetic subtypes of glioblastoma (GBM), including tumors with IDH1 mutations that confer increase survival and improved response to standard-of-care therapies.  By mapping the genetic landscape of brain tumors in routine clinical practice, we enable rapid identification of targetable genetic alterations.
CASE PRESENTATION: A 29-year-old male presented with new onset seizures prompting neuroimaging studies, which revealed an enhancing 5 cm intra-axial lesion involving the right parietal lobe. He underwent a subtotal resection and pathologic examination revealed glioblastoma with mitoses, microvascular proliferation and necrosis. Immunohistochemical (IHC) analysis showed diffuse expression of GFAP, OLIG2 and SOX2 consistent with a tumor of glial lineage. Tumor cells were positive for IDH1(R132H) and negative for ATRX. Clinical targeted-exome sequencing (DFBWCC Oncopanel) identified multiple functional variants including IDH1 (p.R132H), TP53 (p.Y126_splice), ATRX (p.R1302fs*), HNF1A (p.R263H) and NF1 (p.H2592del) variants and a NAB2-STAT6 gene fusion event involving NAB2 exon 3 and STAT6 exon 18. Array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) further revealed a focal amplification of NAB2 and STAT6.  IHC analysis demonstrated strong heterogenous STAT6 nuclear localization (in 20 % of tumor cells).
CONCLUSIONS: While NAB2:STAT6 fusions are common in solitary fibrous tumors (SFT), we report this event for the first time in a newly diagnosed, secondary-type GBM or any other non-SFT. Our study further highlights the value of comprehensive genomic analyses in identifying patient-specific targetable mutations and rearrangements.

Misuraca KL, Hu G, Barton KL, et al.
A Novel Mouse Model of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma Initiated in Pax3-Expressing Cells.
Neoplasia. 2016; 18(1):60-70 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a rare and incurable brain tumor that arises predominately in children and involves the pons, a structure that along with the midbrain and medulla makes up the brainstem. We have previously developed genetically engineered mouse models of brainstem glioma using the RCAS/Tv-a system by targeting PDGF-B overexpression, p53 loss, and H3.3K27M mutation to Nestin-expressing brainstem progenitor cells of the neonatal mouse. Here we describe a novel mouse model targeting these same genetic alterations to Pax3-expressing cells, which in the neonatal mouse pons consist of a Pax3+/Nestin+/Sox2+ population lining the fourth ventricle and a Pax3+/NeuN+ parenchymal population. Injection of RCAS-PDGF-B into the brainstem of Pax3-Tv-a mice at postnatal day 3 results in 40% of mice developing asymptomatic low-grade glioma. A mixture of low- and high-grade glioma results from injection of Pax3-Tv-a;p53(fl/fl) mice with RCAS-PDGF-B and RCAS-Cre, with or without RCAS-H3.3K27M. These tumors are Ki67+, Nestin+, Olig2+, and largely GFAP- and can arise anywhere within the brainstem, including the classic DIPG location of the ventral pons. Expression of the H3.3K27M mutation reduces overall H3K27me3 as compared with tumors without the mutation, similar to what has been previously shown in human and mouse tumors. Thus, we have generated a novel genetically engineered mouse model of DIPG, which faithfully recapitulates the human disease and represents a novel platform with which to study the biology and treatment of this deadly disease.

Kozono D, Li J, Nitta M, et al.
Dynamic epigenetic regulation of glioblastoma tumorigenicity through LSD1 modulation of MYC expression.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015; 112(30):E4055-64 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
The available evidence suggests that the lethality of glioblastoma is driven by small subpopulations of cells that self-renew and exhibit tumorigenicity. It remains unclear whether tumorigenicity exists as a static property of a few cells or as a dynamically acquired property. We used tumor-sphere and xenograft formation as assays for tumorigenicity and examined subclones isolated from established and primary glioblastoma lines. Our results indicate that glioblastoma tumorigenicity is largely deterministic, yet the property can be acquired spontaneously at low frequencies. Further, these dynamic transitions are governed by epigenetic reprogramming through the lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1). LSD depletion increases trimethylation of histone 3 lysine 4 at the avian myelocytomatosis viral oncogene homolog (MYC) locus, which elevates MYC expression. MYC, in turn, regulates oligodendrocyte lineage transcription factor 2 (OLIG2), SRY (sex determining region Y)-box 2 (SOX2), and POU class 3 homeobox 2 (POU3F2), a core set of transcription factors required for reprogramming glioblastoma cells into stem-like states. Our model suggests epigenetic regulation of key transcription factors governs transitions between tumorigenic states and provides a framework for glioblastoma therapeutic development.

Ranjit M, Motomura K, Ohka F, et al.
Applicable advances in the molecular pathology of glioblastoma.
Brain Tumor Pathol. 2015; 32(3):153-62 [PubMed] Related Publications
Comprising more than 80% of malignant brain tumors, glioma has proven to be a daunting cause of mortality in a vast majority of the human population. Progressive and extensive research on malignant glioma has substantially enhanced our understanding of glioma cell biology and molecular pathology. Subtypes of glioma such as astrocytoma and oligodendroglioma are currently grouped together into one pathological class, where they show many differences in histology and molecular etiology. This indicates that it may be beneficial to consider a new and radical subclassification. Thus, we summarize recent developments in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) subtypes, immunohistochemical analyses useful for diagnoses and the biological evaluation and therapeutic implications of gliomas in this review.

Yang CM, Chiba T, Brill B, et al.
Expression of the miR-302/367 cluster in glioblastoma cells suppresses tumorigenic gene expression patterns and abolishes transformation related phenotypes.
Int J Cancer. 2015; 137(10):2296-309 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Cellular transformation is initiated by the activation of oncogenes and a closely associated developmental reprogramming of the epigenetic landscape. Transcription factors, regulators of chromatin states and microRNAs influence cell fates in development and stabilize the phenotypes of normal, differentiated cells and of cancer cells. The miR-302/367 cluster, predominantly expressed in human embryonic stem cells (hESs), can promote the cellular reprogramming of human and mouse cells and contribute to the generation of iPSC. We have used the epigenetic reprogramming potential of the miR-302/367 cluster to "de-program" tumor cells, that is, hift their gene expression pattern towards an alternative program associated with more benign cellular phenotypes. Induction of the miR-302/367 cluster in extensively mutated U87MG glioblastoma cells drastically suppressed the expression of transformation related proteins, for example, the reprogramming factors OCT3/4, SOX2, KLF4 and c-MYC, and the transcription factors POU3F2, SALL2 and OLIG2, required for the maintenance of glioblastoma stem-like tumor propagating cells. It also diminished PI3K/AKT and STAT3 signaling, impeded colony formation in soft agar and cell migration and suppressed pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion. At the same time, the miR-302/367 cluster restored the expression of neuronal markers of differentiation. Most notably, miR-302/367 cluster expressing cells lose their ability to form tumors and to establish liver metastasis in nude mice. The induction of the miR-302/367 cluster in U87MG glioblastoma cells suppresses the expression of multiple transformation related genes, abolishes the tumor and metastasis formation potential of these cells and can potentially become a new approach for cancer therapy.

Yadavilli S, Scafidi J, Becher OJ, et al.
The emerging role of NG2 in pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(14):12141-55 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs) have a dismal prognosis and are poorly understood brain cancers. Receptor tyrosine kinases stabilized by neuron-glial antigen 2 (NG2) protein are known to induce gliomagenesis. Here, we investigated NG2 expression in a cohort of DIPG specimens (n= 50). We demonstrate NG2 expression in the majority of DIPG specimens tested and determine that tumors harboring histone 3.3 mutation express the highest NG2 levels. We further demonstrate that microRNA 129-2 (miR129-2) is downregulated and hypermethylated in human DIPGs, resulting in the increased expression of NG2. Treatment with 5-Azacytidine, a methyltransferase inhibitor, results in NG2 downregulation in DIPG primary tumor cells in vitro. NG2 expression is altered (symmetric segregation) in mitotic human DIPG and mouse tumor cells. These mitotic cells co-express oligodendrocyte (Olig2) and astrocyte (glial fibrillary acidic protein, GFAP) markers, indicating lack of terminal differentiation. NG2 knockdown retards cellular migration in vitro, while NG2 expressing neurospheres are highly tumorigenic in vivo, resulting in rapid growth of pontine tumors. NG2 expression is targetable in vivo using miR129-2 indicating a potential avenue for therapeutic interventions. This data implicates NG2 as a molecule of interest in DIPGs especially those with H3.3 mutation.

Natesh K, Bhosale D, Desai A, et al.
Oncostatin-M differentially regulates mesenchymal and proneural signature genes in gliomas via STAT3 signaling.
Neoplasia. 2015; 17(2):225-37 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Glioblastoma (GBM), the most malignant of the brain tumors is classified on the basis of molecular signature genes using TCGA data into four subtypes- classical, mesenchymal, proneural and neural. The mesenchymal phenotype is associated with greater aggressiveness and low survival in contrast to GBMs enriched with proneural genes. The proinflammatory cytokines secreted in the microenvironment of gliomas play a key role in tumor progression. The study focused on the role of Oncostatin-M (OSM), an IL-6 family cytokine in inducing mesenchymal properties in GBM. Analysis of TCGA and REMBRANDT data revealed that expression of OSMR but not IL-6R or LIFR is upregulated in GBM and has negative correlation with survival. Amongst the GBM subtypes, OSMR level was in the order of mesenchymal > classical > neural > proneural. TCGA data and RT-PCR analysis in primary cultures of low and high grade gliomas showed a positive correlation between OSMR and mesenchymal signature genes-YKL40/CHI3L1, fibronectin and vimentin and a negative correlation with proneural signature genes-DLL3, Olig2 and BCAN. OSM enhanced transcript and protein level of fibronectin and YKL-40 and reduced the expression of Olig2 and DLL3 in GBM cells. OSM-regulated mesenchymal phenotype was associated with enhanced MMP-9 activity, increased cell migration and invasion. Importantly, OSM induced mesenchymal markers and reduced proneural genes even in primary cultures of grade-III glioma cells. We conclude that OSM-mediated signaling contributes to aggressive nature associated with mesenchymal features via STAT3 signaling in glioma cells. The data suggest that OSMR can be explored as potential target for therapeutic intervention.

Marguet F, Bergogne L, Laurent N, et al.
Fetal presentation of congenital fibrosarcoma of the meninges: case report and literature review.
Clin Neuropathol. 2015 Mar-Apr; 34(2):70-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIM: Congenital infantile fibrosarcoma (CIFS) exceptionally occurs in the meninges, with no cases reported before or at birth. We report herein a meningeal CIFS diagnosed in a fetus at 40 weeks of gestation (WG).
CASE REPORT: A 24-year-old pregnant woman was referred to the obstetrics department for vaginal bleeding. A severe right hydrocephalus due to a large tumor invading the left hemisphere and ventricles was discovered in the fetus, and medical termination of the pregnancy was achieved.
RESULTS: Histological examination revealed a highly cellular spindle or ovoid shaped cell proliferation organized in interlacing bundles; it was diffusely positive for vimentin, and scarcely for SMA (smooth muscle actin). NFs (neurofilaments), NeuN, S100 protein, desmin, GFAP (glial fibrillary acidic protein), Olig2, chromogranin, synaptophysin, CD31, CD34, BCL2, and EMA (epithelial membrane antigen) antibodies were negative. Ki67 antibody labeled 20% of the nuclei. A reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction assay was performed to detect the gene fusion ETV6-NTRK3 transcript. Despite negative results, it was concluded to be a CIFS of the meninges.
DISCUSSION: CIFS of the meninges during the fetal period has never been reported. Its diagnosis is based on immunohistochemistry, and, whenever possible, on the detection of the reciprocal translocation t (12;15) resulting in the gene fusion ETV6-NTRK3. Its prognosis depends on rapid growth and local invasiveness leading to cerebral structure damage.

Trépant AL, Bouchart C, Rorive S, et al.
Identification of OLIG2 as the most specific glioblastoma stem cell marker starting from comparative analysis of data from similar DNA chip microarray platforms.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(3):1943-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
Despite advances in surgical and adjuvant treatments, overall survival of glioblastoma (GBM) patients remains poor. The cancer stem cell concept suggests that a rare stem cell population, called glioma stem cells (GSCs), has high ability to self-renewal leading to recurrence in GBM. The identification of specific markers of GSCs would provide a powerful tool to detect and to characterise them in order to develop targeted therapies. We carried out a comparative analysis based on the identification of inter-study concordances to identify the genes that exhibit at best differential levels of expression between GSC-enriched cell cultures and differentiated tumour cell cultures from independent studies using DNA chip microarray technologies. We finally studied the protein expression of the marker we considered the most specific by immunohistochemistry and semi-quantitative analysis on a retrospective series of 18 GBMs. Of the selected studies, 32 genes were retained. Among them, eight genes were identified to be overexpressed in GSC-enriched cultures compared to differentiated tumour cell cultures. Finally, among the eight genes, oligodendrocyte lineage transcription factor 2 (OLIG2) was characterised by the most different expression level in the "GSC model" compared to the "differentiated tumour cells model". Our approach suggests that OLIG2 is the most specific GSC marker; additional investigations with careful considerations about methodology and strategies of validation are, however, mandatory.

Nevo I, Woolard K, Cam M, et al.
Identification of molecular pathways facilitating glioma cell invasion in situ.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(11):e111783 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Gliomas are mostly incurable secondary to their diffuse infiltrative nature. Thus, specific therapeutic targeting of invasive glioma cells is an attractive concept. As cells exit the tumor mass and infiltrate brain parenchyma, they closely interact with a changing micro-environmental landscape that sustains tumor cell invasion. In this study, we used a unique microarray profiling approach on a human glioma stem cell (GSC) xenograft model to explore gene expression changes in situ in Invading Glioma Cells (IGCs) compared to tumor core, as well as changes in host cells residing within the infiltrated microenvironment relative to the unaffected cortex. IGCs were found to have reduced expression of genes within the extracellular matrix compartment, and genes involved in cell adhesion, cell polarity and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) processes. The infiltrated microenvironment showed activation of wound repair and tissue remodeling networks. We confirmed by protein analysis the downregulation of EMT and polarity related genes such as CD44 and PARD3 in IGCs, and EFNB3, a tissue-remodeling agent enriched at the infiltrated microenvironment. OLIG2, a proliferation regulator and glioma progenitor cell marker upregulated in IGCs was found to function in enhancing migration and stemness of GSCs. Overall, our results unveiled a more comprehensive picture of the complex and dynamic cell autonomous and tumor-host interactive pathways of glioma invasion than has been previously demonstrated. This suggests targeting of multiple pathways at the junction of invading tumor and microenvironment as a viable option for glioma therapy.

Holmberg Olausson K, Maire CL, Haidar S, et al.
Prominin-1 (CD133) defines both stem and non-stem cell populations in CNS development and gliomas.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(9):e106694 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Prominin-1 (CD133) is a commonly used cancer stem cell marker in central nervous system (CNS) tumors including glioblastoma (GBM). Expression of Prom1 in cancer is thought to parallel expression and function in normal stem cells. Using RNA in situ hybridization and antibody tools capable of detecting multiple isoforms of Prom1, we find evidence for two distinct Prom1 cell populations in mouse brain. Prom1 RNA is first expressed in stem/progenitor cells of the ventricular zone in embryonic brain. Conversely, in adult mouse brain Prom1 RNA is low in SVZ/SGZ stem cell zones but high in a rare but widely distributed cell population (Prom1(hi)). Lineage marker analysis reveals Prom1(hi) cells are Olig2+Sox2+ glia but Olig1/2 knockout mice lacking oligodendroglia retain Prom1(hi) cells. Bromodeoxyuridine labeling identifies Prom1(hi) as slow-dividing distributed progenitors distinct from NG2+Olig2+ oligodendrocyte progenitors. In adult human brain, PROM1 cells are rarely positive for OLIG2, but express astroglial markers GFAP and SOX2. Variability of PROM1 expression levels in human GBM and patient-derived xenografts (PDX) - from no expression to strong, uniform expression--highlights that PROM1 may not always be associated with or restricted to cancer stem cells. TCGA and PDX data show that high expression of PROM1 correlates with poor overall survival. Within proneural subclass tumors, high PROM1 expression correlates inversely with IDH1 (R132H) mutation. These findings support PROM1 as a tumor cell-intrinsic marker related to GBM survival, independent of its stem cell properties, and highlight potentially divergent roles for this protein in normal mouse and human glia.

Beyeler S, Joly S, Fries M, et al.
Targeting the bHLH transcriptional networks by mutated E proteins in experimental glioma.
Stem Cells. 2014; 32(10):2583-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastomas (GB) are aggressive primary brain tumors. Helix-loop-helix (HLH, ID proteins) and basic HLH (bHLH, e.g., Olig2) proteins are transcription factors that regulate stem cell proliferation and differentiation throughout development and into adulthood. Their convergence on many oncogenic signaling pathways combined with the observation that their overexpression in GB correlates with poor clinical outcome identifies these transcription factors as promising therapeutic targets. Important dimerization partners of HLH/bHLH proteins are E proteins that are necessary for nuclear translocation and DNA binding. Here, we overexpressed a wild type or a dominant negative form of E47 (dnE47) that lacks its nuclear localization signal thus preventing nuclear translocation of bHLH proteins in long-term glioma cell lines and in glioma-initiating cell lines and analyzed the effects in vitro and in vivo. While overexpression of E47 was sufficient to induce apoptosis in absence of bHLH proteins, dnE47 was necessary to prevent nuclear translocation of Olig2 and to achieve similar proapoptotic responses. Transcriptional analyses revealed downregulation of the antiapoptotic gene BCL2L1 and the proproliferative gene CDC25A as underlying mechanisms. Overexpression of dnE47 in glioma-initiating cell lines with high HLH and bHLH protein levels reduced sphere formation capacities and expression levels of Nestin, BCL2L1, and CDC25A. Finally, the in vivo induction of dnE47 expression in established xenografts prolonged survival. In conclusion, our data introduce a novel approach to jointly neutralize HLH and bHLH transcriptional networks activities, and identify these transcription factors as potential targets in glioma.

Suvà ML, Rheinbay E, Gillespie SM, et al.
Reconstructing and reprogramming the tumor-propagating potential of glioblastoma stem-like cells.
Cell. 2014; 157(3):580-94 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Developmental fate decisions are dictated by master transcription factors (TFs) that interact with cis-regulatory elements to direct transcriptional programs. Certain malignant tumors may also depend on cellular hierarchies reminiscent of normal development but superimposed on underlying genetic aberrations. In glioblastoma (GBM), a subset of stem-like tumor-propagating cells (TPCs) appears to drive tumor progression and underlie therapeutic resistance yet remain poorly understood. Here, we identify a core set of neurodevelopmental TFs (POU3F2, SOX2, SALL2, and OLIG2) essential for GBM propagation. These TFs coordinately bind and activate TPC-specific regulatory elements and are sufficient to fully reprogram differentiated GBM cells to "induced" TPCs, recapitulating the epigenetic landscape and phenotype of native TPCs. We reconstruct a network model that highlights critical interactions and identifies candidate therapeutic targets for eliminating TPCs. Our study establishes the epigenetic basis of a developmental hierarchy in GBM, provides detailed insight into underlying gene regulatory programs, and suggests attendant therapeutic strategies. PAPERCLIP:

Lee JW, Norden AD, Ligon KL, et al.
Tumor associated seizures in glioblastomas are influenced by survival gene expression in a region-specific manner: a gene expression imaging study.
Epilepsy Res. 2014; 108(5):843-52 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Tumor associated seizures (TAS) are common and cause significant morbidity. Both imaging and gene expression features play significant roles in determining TAS, with strong interactions between them. We describe gene expression imaging tools which allow mapping of brain regions where gene expression has significant influence on TAS, and apply these methods to study 77 patients who underwent surgical evaluation for supratentorial glioblastomas. Tumor size and location were measured from MRI scans. A 9-set gene expression profile predicting long-term survivors was obtained from RNA derived from formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue. A total of 32 patients (42%) experienced preoperative TAS. Tumor volume was smaller (31.1 vs. 58.8 cubic cm, p<0.001) and there was a trend toward median survival being higher (48.4 vs. 32.7 months, p=0.055) in patients with TAS. Although the expression of only OLIG2 was significantly lower in patients with TAS in a groupwise analysis, gene expression imaging analysis revealed regions with significantly lower expression of OLIG2 and RTN1 in patients with TAS. Gene expression imaging is a powerful technique that demonstrates that the influence of gene expression on TAS is highly region specific. Regional variability should be evaluated with any genomic or molecular markers of solid brain lesions.

Yan GN, Yang L, Lv YF, et al.
Endothelial cells promote stem-like phenotype of glioma cells through activating the Hedgehog pathway.
J Pathol. 2014; 234(1):11-22 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Microenvironmental regulation of cancer stem cells (CSCs) strongly influences the onset and spread of cancer. The way in which glioma cells interact with their microenvironment and acquire the phenotypes of CSCs remains elusive. We investigated how communication between vascular endothelial cells and glioma cells promoted the properties of glioma stem cells (GSCs). We observed that CD133(+) GSCs were located closely to Shh(+) endothelial cells in specimens of human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). In both in vitro and in vivo studies, we found that endothelial cells promoted the appearance of CSC-like glioma cells, as demonstrated by increases in tumourigenicity and expression of stemness genes such as Sox2, Olig2, Bmi1 and CD133 in glioma cells that were co-cultured with endothelial cells. Knockdown of Smo in glioma cells led to a significant reduction of their CSC-like phenotype formation in vitro and in vivo. Endothelial cells with Shh knockdown failed to promote Hedgehog (HH) pathway activation and CSC-like phenotype formation in co-cultured glioma cells. By examination of glioma tissue specimens from 65 patients, we found that the survival of glioma patients was closely correlated with the expression of both Shh by endothelial cells and Gli1 by perivascular glioma cells. Taken together, our study demonstrates that endothelial cells in the tumour microenvironment provide Shh to activate the HH signalling pathway in glioma cells, thereby promoting GSC properties and glioma propagation.

Teneng I, Tellez CS, Picchi MA, et al.
Global identification of genes targeted by DNMT3b for epigenetic silencing in lung cancer.
Oncogene. 2015; 34(5):621-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
The maintenance cytosine DNA methyltransferase DNMT1 and de novo methyltransferase DNMT3b cooperate to establish aberrant DNA methylation and chromatin complexes to repress gene transcription during cancer development. The expression of DNMT3b was constitutively increased 5-20-fold in hTERT/CDK4-immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) before treatment with low doses of tobacco carcinogens. Overexpression of DNMT3b increased and accelerated carcinogen-induced transformation. Genome-wide profiling of transformed HBECs identified 143 DNMT3b-target genes, many of which were transcriptionally regulated by the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) complex and silenced through aberrant methylation in non-small-cell lung cancer cell lines. Two genes studied in detail, MAL and OLIG2, were silenced during transformation, initially through enrichment for H3K27me3 and H3K9me2, commonly methylated in lung cancer, and exert tumor suppressor effects in vivo through modulating cancer-related pathways. Re-expression of MAL and OLIG2 to physiological levels dramatically reduced the growth of lung tumor xenografts. Our results identify a key role for DNMT3b in the earliest stages of initiation and provide a comprehensive catalog of genes targeted for silencing by this methyltransferase in non-small-cell lung cancer.

Havrda MC, Paolella BR, Ran C, et al.
Id2 mediates oligodendrocyte precursor cell maturation arrest and is tumorigenic in a PDGF-rich microenvironment.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(6):1822-32 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Maturation defects occurring in adult tissue progenitor cells have the potential to contribute to tumor development; however, there is little experimental evidence implicating this cellular mechanism in the pathogenesis of solid tumors. Inhibitor of DNA-binding 2 (Id2) is a transcription factor known to regulate the proliferation and differentiation of primitive stem and progenitor cells. Id2 is derepressed in adult tissue neural stem cells (NSC) lacking the tumor suppressor Tp53 and modulates their proliferation. Constitutive expression of Id2 in differentiating NSCs resulted in maturation-resistant oligodendroglial precursor cells (OPC), a cell population implicated in the initiation of glioma. Mechanistically, Id2 overexpression was associated with inhibition of the Notch effector Hey1, a bHLH transcription factor that we here characterize as a direct transcriptional repressor of the oligodendroglial lineage determinant Olig2. Orthotopic inoculation of NSCs with enhanced Id2 expression into brains of mice engineered to express platelet-derived growth factor in the central nervous system resulted in glioma. These data implicate a mechanism of altered NSC differentiation in glioma development and characterize a novel mouse model that reflects key characteristics of the recently described proneural subtype of glioblastoma multiforme. Such findings support the emerging concept that the cellular and molecular characteristics of tumor cells are linked to the transformation of distinct subsets of adult tissue progenitors.

Bhat KP, Balasubramaniyan V, Vaillant B, et al.
Mesenchymal differentiation mediated by NF-κB promotes radiation resistance in glioblastoma.
Cancer Cell. 2013; 24(3):331-46 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Despite extensive study, few therapeutic targets have been identified for glioblastoma (GBM). Here we show that patient-derived glioma sphere cultures (GSCs) that resemble either the proneural (PN) or mesenchymal (MES) transcriptomal subtypes differ significantly in their biological characteristics. Moreover, we found that a subset of the PN GSCs undergoes differentiation to a MES state in a TNF-α/NF-κB-dependent manner with an associated enrichment of CD44 subpopulations and radioresistant phenotypes. We present data to suggest that the tumor microenvironment cell types such as macrophages/microglia may play an integral role in this process. We further show that the MES signature, CD44 expression, and NF-κB activation correlate with poor radiation response and shorter survival in patients with GBM.

Ceccom J, Bourdeaut F, Loukh N, et al.
Embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes: diagnostic tools update and review of the literature.
Clin Neuropathol. 2014 Jan-Feb; 33(1):15-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes (ETMR), including embryonal tumor with abundant neuropil and true rosettes (ETANTR), and ependymoblastoma (EBL) constitute a distinct entity of the primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) family. The presence of a focal amplification at chromosome region 19q13.42 associated with an up-regulation of the oncogenic miRNA cluster C19MC suggests that they may represent a histological spectrum of a single biological entity. Their histopathological spectrum is wide, including medulloepithelioma, their location may be supra- or infra-tentorial, their prognosis is poor. Recent data on molecular subgroups of PNETs have led to new insights on diagnosis and treatment of these tumors. Subsequently, LIN28A immunoexpression was identified as a highly specific marker for ETMR. In this study, we report 4 cases diagnosed initially as ETANTR with CGH-array data, including 19q13.42 gain with absence of other amplicons, particularly of the MYC gene family, and inconstant gain of whole chromosome 2. Immunohistochemical positive expression of LIN28A and absence of Olig2 expression were observed. We summarize the literature on ETMR, pointing out on the nosological evolution of this entity and the findings on genetic hallmarks of this particular tumor. Our results emphasize the usefulness of immunohistochemistry as a highly sensitive and fast diagnostic tool for ETMR and for genetic data, especially for 19q13.42 locus. Biological features may offer new therapeutic options for these embryonal tumors that do not usually respond to conventional treatments of PNETs.

Siebzehnrubl FA, Silver DJ, Tugertimur B, et al.
The ZEB1 pathway links glioblastoma initiation, invasion and chemoresistance.
EMBO Mol Med. 2013; 5(8):1196-212 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Glioblastoma remains one of the most lethal types of cancer, and is the most common brain tumour in adults. In particular, tumour recurrence after surgical resection and radiation invariably occurs regardless of aggressive chemotherapy. Here, we provide evidence that the transcription factor ZEB1 (zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1) exerts simultaneous influence over invasion, chemoresistance and tumourigenesis in glioblastoma. ZEB1 is preferentially expressed in invasive glioblastoma cells, where the ZEB1-miR-200 feedback loop interconnects these processes through the downstream effectors ROBO1, c-MYB and MGMT. Moreover, ZEB1 expression in glioblastoma patients is predictive of shorter survival and poor Temozolomide response. Our findings indicate that this regulator of epithelial-mesenchymal transition orchestrates key features of cancer stem cells in malignant glioma and identify ROBO1, OLIG2, CD133 and MGMT as novel targets of the ZEB1 pathway. Thus, ZEB1 is an important candidate molecule for glioblastoma recurrence, a marker of invasive tumour cells and a potential therapeutic target, along with its downstream effectors.

Mao XG, Song SJ, Xue XY, et al.
LGR5 is a proneural factor and is regulated by OLIG2 in glioma stem-like cells.
Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2013; 33(6):851-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
The biological functional roles of LGR5 (leucine-rich repeat containing G protein-coupled receptor 5, also known as GPR49), a novel potential marker for stem-like cells in glioblastoma (GSCs), is poorly acknowledged. Here, we demonstrated that LGR5 was detected in glioblastoma tissues and GSCs. Bioinformatics analysis revealed that LGR5 is closely related to neurogenesis and neuronal functions, and preferentially expressed in Proneural subtype of GBMs. Furthermore, LGR5 is regulated by Proneural factor OLIG2, which is important for both neurogenesis and GSC maintenance. Biological experiments in GSC cells validated the bioinformatics analysis results and revealed that LGR5 regulated the tumor sphere formation capacity, an important stem cell property for GSCs. Therefore, LGR5 expression may be functionally correlated with the neurogenic competence, and be regulated by OLIG2 in GSCs.

Ashizawa T, Miyata H, Iizuka A, et al.
Effect of the STAT3 inhibitor STX-0119 on the proliferation of cancer stem-like cells derived from recurrent glioblastoma.
Int J Oncol. 2013; 43(1):219-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
Signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 3, a member of a family of DNA-binding molecules, is a potential target in the treatment of cancer. The highly phosphorylated STAT3 in cancer cells contributes to numerous physiological and oncogenic signaling pathways. Furthermore, a significant association between STAT3 signaling and glioblastoma multiforme stem-like cell (GBM-SC) development and maintenance has been demonstrated in recent studies. Previously, we reported a novel small molecule inhibitor of STAT3 dimerization, STX-0119, as a cancer therapeutic. In the present study, we focused on cancer stem-like cells derived from recurrent GBM patients and investigated the efficacy of STX-0119. Three GBM stem cell lines showed many stem cell markers such as CD133, EGFR, Nanog, Olig2, nestin and Yamanaka factors (c-myc, KLF4, Oct3/4 and SOX2) compared with parental cell lines. These cell lines also formed tumors in vivo and had similar histological to surgically resected tumors. STAT3 phosphorylation was activated more in the GBM-SC lines than serum-derived GB cell lines. The growth inhibitory effect of STX-0119 on GBM-SCs was moderate (IC50 15-44 µM) and stronger compared to that of WP1066 in two cell lines. On the other hand, the effect of temozolomide was weak in all the cell lines (IC50 53-226 µM). Notably, STX-0119 demonstrated strong inhibition of the expression of STAT3 target genes (c-myc, survivin, cyclin D1, HIF-1α and VEGF) and stem cell-associated genes (CD44, Nanog, nestin and CD133) as well as the induction of apoptosis in one stem-like cell line. Interestingly, VEGFR2 mRNA was also remarkably inhibited by STX-0119. In a model using transplantable stem-like cell lines in vivo GB-SCC010 and 026, STX-0119 inhibited the growth of GBM-SCs at 80 mg/kg. STX-0119, an inhibitor of STAT3, may serve as a novel therapeutic compound against GBM-SCs even in temozolomide-resistant GBM patients and has the potential for GBM-SC-specific therapeutics in combination with temozolomide plus radiation therapy.

Lee DW, Ramakrishnan D, Valenta J, et al.
The NF-κB RelB protein is an oncogenic driver of mesenchymal glioma.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(2):e57489 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
High-grade gliomas, such as glioblastomas (GBMs), are very aggressive, invasive brain tumors with low patient survival rates. The recent identification of distinct glioma tumor subtypes offers the potential for understanding disease pathogenesis, responses to treatment and identification of molecular targets for personalized cancer therapies. However, the key alterations that drive tumorigenesis within each subtype are still poorly understood. Although aberrant NF-κB activity has been implicated in glioma, the roles of specific members of this protein family in tumorigenesis and pathogenesis have not been elucidated. In this study, we show that the NF-κB protein RelB is expressed in a particularly aggressive mesenchymal subtype of glioma, and loss of RelB significantly attenuated glioma cell survival, motility and invasion. We find that RelB promotes the expression of mesenchymal genes including YKL-40, a marker of the MES glioma subtype. Additionally, RelB regulates expression of Olig2, a regulator of cancer stem cell proliferation and a candidate marker for the cell of origin in glioma. Furthermore, loss of RelB in glioma cells significantly diminished tumor growth in orthotopic mouse xenografts. The relevance of our studies for human disease was confirmed by analysis of a human GBM genome database, which revealed that high RelB expression strongly correlates with rapid tumor progression and poor patient survival rates. Thus, our findings demonstrate that RelB is an oncogenic driver of mesenchymal glioma tumor growth and invasion, highlighting the therapeutic potential of inhibiting the noncanonical NF-κB (RelB-mediated) pathway to treat these deadly tumors.

Matsumura N, Wang Y, Nakazato Y
Coexpression of glial and neuronal markers in the neurocytic rosettes of rosette-forming glioneuronal tumors.
Brain Tumor Pathol. 2014; 31(1):17-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Rosette-forming glioneuronal tumor of the fourth ventricle (RGNT) is a new entity in the WHO 2007 Classification of Tumors of the Central Nervous System. RGNT has two components: neurocytic rosettes and low-grade gliomas. Neurocytic rosettes are conventionally described as consisting of uniform neurocytes. However, some studies have reported rosette-forming tumor cells that expressed glial markers such as Olig2. We indicated the expression of glial markers including Olig2, cyclinD1, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), and platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRα) in the neurocytic rosettes in our previous study, and we suggested that these tumor cells had a heterogeneous nature. In this study, we used double and triple immunostaining to demonstrate that these tumor cells have both glial and neuronal characteristics. We found that rosette-forming tumor cells coexpressed Olig2/cyclinD1 and synaptophysin. Furthermore, the cores of the rosettes coexpressed GFAP/PDGFRα in the peripheral zone and synaptophysin in the central zone. These findings imply that rosette-forming tumor cells have a similar nature to neuronal-glial progenitor cells, and we believe that the nomination "neurocytic rosette" may be unsuitable given their heterogeneous nature. Our study appears to clarify some of the properties of RGNT tumor cells and may help elucidate the histogenesis of RGNT.

Yalcin A, Kreutz C, Pfeifer D, et al.
MeDIP coupled with a promoter tiling array as a platform to investigate global DNA methylation patterns in AML cells.
Leuk Res. 2013; 37(1):102-11 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hypermethylation of CpGs in promoter regions and subsequent changes in gene expression are common features in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Genome-wide studies of the methylome are not only useful to understand changes in DNA methylation and gene regulation but also to identify potential targets for antileukemic treatment. Here we performed methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP) in the AML cell line HL-60 and donor-derived CD34+ cells, followed by hybridization on a human promoter tiling array. The comparative analysis of HL-60 versus CD34+ cells revealed differentially methylated promoter regions including genes that are frequently methylated in AML, such as p15/INK4B, OLIG2, RARß2 and estrogen receptor. Microarray data was validated by quantitative pyrosequencing. We corroborate previous reports that MeDIP, in our study combined with a promoter tiling array (MeDIP-Chip), is a robust method to identify genes that are differentially methylated in AML cells in a genome-wide manner, and is thus useful to identify new epigenetic targets for therapeutic or prognostic research.

Guichet PO, Bieche I, Teigell M, et al.
Cell death and neuronal differentiation of glioblastoma stem-like cells induced by neurogenic transcription factors.
Glia. 2013; 61(2):225-39 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiform (GBM) are devastating brain tumors containing a fraction of multipotent stem-like cells which are highly tumorigenic. These cells are resistant to treatments and are likely to be responsible for tumor recurrence. One approach to eliminate GBM stem-like cells would be to force their terminal differentiation. During development, neurons formation is controlled by neurogenic transcription factors such as Ngn1/2 and NeuroD1. We found that in comparison with oligodendrogenic genes, the expression of these neurogenic genes is low or absent in GBM tumors and derived cultures. We thus explored the effect of overexpressing these neurogenic genes in three CD133(+) Sox2(+) GBM stem-like cell cultures and the U87 glioma line. Introduction of Ngn2 in CD133(+) cultures induced massive cell death, proliferation arrest and a drastic reduction of neurosphere formation. Similar effects were observed with NeuroD1. Importantly, Ngn2 effects were accompanied by the downregulation of Olig2, Myc, Shh and upregulation of Dcx and NeuroD1 expression. The few surviving cells adopted a typical neuronal morphology and some of them generated action potentials. These cells appeared to be produced at the expense of GFAP(+) cells which were radically reduced after differentiation with Ngn2. In vivo, Ngn2-expressing cells were unable to form orthotopic tumors. In the U87 glioma line, Ngn2 could not induce neuronal differentiation although proliferation in vitro and tumoral growth in vivo were strongly reduced. By inducing cell death, cell cycle arrest or differentiation, this work supports further exploration of neurogenic proteins to oppose GBM stem-like and non-stem-like cell growth.

Allen C, Opyrchal M, Aderca I, et al.
Oncolytic measles virus strains have significant antitumor activity against glioma stem cells.
Gene Ther. 2013; 20(4):444-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common primary brain tumor in adults and has a dismal prognosis despite multimodality treatment. Given the resistance of glioma stem cells (GSC) to chemotherapy and radiation therapy, their eradication could prevent tumor recurrence. We sought to evaluate the antitumor activity of measles virus (MV) derivatives against GSC. We generated neurosphere cultures from patient-derived primary tumor GBM xenografts, and we characterized them for the GSC markers CD133, SOX2, Nestin, ATF5 and OLIG2. Using the MV-strains MV-GFP, MV-CEA and MV-NIS we demonstrated infection, viral replication and significant cytopathic effect in vitro against GSC lines. In tumorigenicity experiments, GBM44 GSC were infected with MV in vitro and subsequently implanted into the right caudate nucleus of nude mice: significant prolongation of survival in mice implanted with infected GSC was observed, compared with mock-infected controls (P=0.0483). In therapy experiments in GBM6 and GBM12 GSC xenograft models, there was significant prolongation of survival in MV-GFP-treated animals compared with inactivated virus-treated controls (GBM6 P=0.0021, GBM12 P=0.0416). Abundant syncytia and viral replication was demonstrated in tumors of MV-treated mice. Measles virus derivatives have significant antitumor activity against glioma-derived stem cells in vitro and in vivo.

Wang Y, Kim E, Wang X, et al.
ERK inhibition rescues defects in fate specification of Nf1-deficient neural progenitors and brain abnormalities.
Cell. 2012; 150(4):816-30 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Germline mutations in the RAS/ERK signaling pathway underlie several related developmental disorders collectively termed neuro-cardio-facial-cutaneous (NCFC) syndromes. NCFC patients manifest varying degrees of cognitive impairment, but the developmental basis of their brain abnormalities remains largely unknown. Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), an NCFC syndrome, is caused by loss-of-function heterozygous mutations in the NF1 gene, which encodes neurofibromin, a RAS GTPase-activating protein. Here, we show that biallelic Nf1 inactivation promotes Erk-dependent, ectopic Olig2 expression specifically in transit-amplifying progenitors, leading to increased gliogenesis at the expense of neurogenesis in neonatal and adult subventricular zone (SVZ). Nf1-deficient brains exhibit enlarged corpus callosum, a structural defect linked to severe learning deficits in NF1 patients. Strikingly, these NF1-associated developmental defects are rescued by transient treatment with an MEK/ERK inhibitor during neonatal stages. This study reveals a critical role for Nf1 in maintaining postnatal SVZ-derived neurogenesis and identifies a potential therapeutic window for treating NF1-associated brain abnormalities.

Dougherty JD, Fomchenko EI, Akuffo AA, et al.
Candidate pathways for promoting differentiation or quiescence of oligodendrocyte progenitor-like cells in glioma.
Cancer Res. 2012; 72(18):4856-68 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/04/2017 Related Publications
Platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha-positive oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPC) located within the mature central nervous system may remain quiescent, proliferate, or differentiate into oligodendrocytes. Human glioblastoma multiforme tumors often contain rapidly proliferating oligodendrocyte lineage transcription factor 2 (Olig2)-positive cells that resemble OPCs. In this study, we sought to identify candidate pathways that promote OPC differentiation or quiescence rather than proliferation. Gene expression profiling conducted in both normal murine OPCs and highly proliferative Olig2-positive glioma cells identified all the transcripts associated with the highly proliferative state of these cells and showed that among the various cell types found within the brain, Olig2-positive tumor cells are most similar to OPCs. We then subtracted OPC transcripts found in tumor samples from those found in normal brain samples and identified 28 OPC transcripts as candidates for promoting differentiation or quiescence. Systematic analysis of human glioma data revealed that these genes have similar expression profiles in human tumors and were significantly enriched in genomic deletions, suggesting an antiproliferative role. Treatment of primary murine glioblastoma cells with agonists of one candidate gene, Gpr17, resulted in a decreased number of neurospheres. Together, our findings show that comparison of the molecular phenotype of progenitor cells in tumors to the equivalent cells in the normal brain represents a novel approach for the identification of targeted therapies.

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