A Positive Feed-forward Loop Associating EGR1 and PDGFA Promotes Proliferation and Self-renewal in Glioblastoma Stem Cells


  • Lopez Fabrice
  • Paquis Philipe
  • Almairac Fabien
  • Fontaine Denys
  • Baeza-Kallee Nathalie
  • van Obberghen-Schilling Ellen
  • Junier Marie-Pierre
  • Chneiweiss Hervé
  • Figarella-Branger Dominique
  • Burel-Vandenbos Fanny
  • Imbert Jean
  • Virolle Thierry
  • Sakakini Nathalie
  • Turchi Laurent
  • Bergon Aurélie
  • Holota Hélène
  • Rekim Samah

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Glioblastomas are the most common primary brain tumors, highly vascularized, infiltrating, and resistant to current therapies. This cancer leads to a fatal outcome in less than 18 months. The aggressive behavior of glioblastomas, including resistance to current treatments and tumor recurrence, has been attributed to glioma stemlike/progenitor cells. The transcription factor EGR1 (early growth response 1), a member of a zinc finger transcription factor family, has been described as tumor suppressor in gliomas when ectopically overexpressed. Although EGR1 expression in human glioblastomas has been associated with patient survival, its precise location in tumor territories as well as its contribution to glioblastoma progression remain elusive. In the present study, we show that EGR1-expressing cells are more frequent in high grade gliomas where the nuclear expression of EGR1 is restricted to proliferating/progenitor cells. We show in primary cultures of glioma stemlike cells that EGR1 contributes to stemness marker expression and proliferation by orchestrating a PDGFA-dependent growth-stimulatory loop. In addition, we demonstrate that EGR1 acts as a positive regulator of several important genes, including SHH, GLI1, GLI2, and PDGFA, previously linked to the maintenance and proliferation of glioma stemlike cells.

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