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Title: Characterization Of Down Regulated Genes In Astrocytoma
Authors: Bhanja, Poulomi
Advisors: Kondaiah, P
Keywords: Astrocytoma - Genes
Tumour - Genes
Astrocytoma Down-Regulated Genes
Gene Regulation
Gene Expression
Signal Transduction
Nervous System - Tumors
PAX6 Transcription Factor
Submitted Date: May-2010
Series/Report no.: G23803
Abstract: Gliomas are the most common primary brain tumors and include astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas and oligoastrocytomas. Astrocytomas have a high frequency of occurrence as compared to the other gliomas and several studies including ours have focused on understanding the etiology, biology and genetics of this disease. Based on the degree of malignancy, astrocytomas have been graded from I to IV. Grade I or pilocytic astrocytomas are benign tumors and have limited infiltration. On the contrary, Grade II-IV astrocytomas also referred to as diffusely infiltrating astrocytomas (DA, Grade II), anaplastic astrocytomas (AA, Grade III) and glioblastoma multiforme (GBM, Grade IV), have the tendency of diffusely infiltrating the normal brain parenchyma. GBM is characterized by uncontrolled proliferation and resistance to apoptosis, rampant invasion, recalcitrance to most established therapies etc which makes them the most aggressive of all gliomas with a median survival of about 12 months. This makes it imperative to initiate further studies to understand the molecular basis of this disease. Gene expression profiling studies have been central to this effort. In recent years, several Microarray studies have provided crucial insights into the biological role of novel genes not previously associated with astrocytomas. In a previous Microarray study, several differentially regulated genes in astrocytoma were identified in our laboratory. In addition to many up regulated genes, several down regulated genes were also identified in this study. Down regulated genes are interesting to study because of their relevance as possible tumor suppressor genes. Hence, we decided to characterize the regulation and functional significance of few down regulated genes. The specific objectives of the study are as follows 1)To validate novel down‐regulated genes in astrocytomas identified by a previous Microarray study. 2)To understand the mechanism of down-regulation of a few selected gene. 3)Functional characterization of DIRAS2, a novel astrocytoma down‐regulated gene with respect to its possible role in astrocytoma progression. Towards these objectives, we identified 21 genes as differentially down-regulated across all grades of astrocytoma based on a previous Microarray study from our lab and data from literature. Real time qRT-PCR analysis performed on these 21 genes confirmed their down-regulation in all grades of astrocytoma as compared to normal brain tissues. From these 21 genes, we short-listed 10 of the most consistently down-regulated genes for further analysis. These genes were DIRAS2, IGFBP9, MAL2, MBP, OLFM1, PACSIN1, RAB26, SYT1, SYT5 and VSNL1. We also confirmed the expression of two of the genes, OLFM1 and RAB26 at the protein level by performing immunohistochemical analysis on an independent set of 38 tissues that included 10 normal tissues and 28 tissues from different grades of astrocytoma. OLFM1 was found to be down-regulated in a grade specific manner. RAB26 expression was found to be strikingly high in all the low grade astrocytomas in comparison to high grade astrocytomas which made it an interesting gene to study functionally. On functional characterization, we found that RAB26 over‐expressing LN229 cells showed significantly reduced invasion compared to the vector transfected cells suggesting RAB26 could have a tumor-suppressing role in astrocytomas. In order to investigate whether transcriptional modulation could play a role in the down-regulation of these 10 genes, we searched for transcription factor binding sites in approximately 2kb 5’ flanking region of each gene. Intriguingly one or more PAX6 binding sites were present in all their promoters. In light of the fact that PAX6 has been proposed as a tumor‐suppressor in astrocytomas, we predicted that some of these genes could be targets of PAX6 transactivation and could possibly mediate some of the tumor‐suppressive actions of PAX6. PAX6 has been proposed as a down stream target of Notch signaling in the context of eye development. Similar to this observation, upon activation of Notch signaling with a virus expressing human intracellular domain of Notch (Ad-NIC-1), PAX6 expression was found to be induced in glioma cell lines suggesting PAX6 to be a novel NOTCH target in astrocytomas. In addition, Ad-NIC-1 infection could also induce the expression of OLFM1, RAB26, MAL2 and MBP in U343 cells. We could also demonstrate that Ad-NIC-1 co-operates with PAX6 in the regulation of these four genes in cell lines expressing endogenous PAX6, namely U343 and U251. Intriguingly, in a cell-line lacking PAX6 expression (LN229), Ad-NIC-1 could not induce OLFM1, RAB26 and MBP, although we could see induction of MAL2. Interestingly, PAX6 overexpression in LN229 cells in the absence of Ad-NIC-1 could induce OLFM1, RAB26 and MAL2. In contrast, infection of Ad-NIC-1 on the PAX6 over-expressing cells seemed to have an antagonistic effect on the expression of OLFM1, RAB26 and MBP, suggesting that Ad-NIC-1 antagonizes PAX6 actions in these cells. Ad-NIC-1 infection resulted in increased apoptosis in a PAX6 independent manner in U343 cells, which as previously mentioned has high levels of PAX6 endogenous expression. Conversely, Ad-NIC-1 could not induce apoptosis in LN229 cells, which has negligible expression of PAX6. We could also demonstrate that apoptosis induced in U343 cells could be in a p53 dependent manner. Activation of AMPK pathway and inhibition of the mTOR pathway as a consequence of p53 induction could also explain the Ad-NIC-1 mediated apoptosis that was seen in these cells. Thus, we have proposed that Notch signaling could possibly have a tumor-suppressing role in the presence of PAX6. We also suggest that down-regulation of OLFM1, RAB26, MAL2 and MBP via the NOTCH-PAX6 axis could be a possible molecular mechanism for the down-regulation of these genes. With respect to the third objective, we sought to characterize DIRAS2 with respect to its function in astrocytomas. DIRAS2 was identified as a down‐regulated gene in all grades of astrocytoma by our Microarray study. We were also able to validate the down‐regulation of DIRAS2 in all grades of astrocytomas. DIRAS2 also bears significant homology to RIG1 (also known as DIRAS1), which has been proposed as a tumor suppressor gene in astrocytomas. In the light of these data, we predicted that DIRAS2 could be a tumor suppressor gene in astrocytomas. Overexpression of DIRAS2 in two glioma cell lines U87 and C6 did not reveal any appreciable change in proliferation. Strikingly when the DIRAS2 over-expressing clones were grown in the absence of serum, there was marked increase in proliferation with respect to vector transfected clones along with a distinct change in morphology. Decorin expression in the DIRAS2 over-expressing clones was found to be up regulated and could be responsible for the altered morphology as well as enhanced viability in absence of serum. Interestingly along with Decorin expression, we also observed an increase in phosphor-SMAD2 levels indicative of activated TGF‐β signaling in the DIRAS2 over-expressing clones in the absence of serum. In the soft agar and migration/invasion assays, the results across the two cell lines, U87 and C6 were contrasting. DIRAS2 over-expressing clones of U87 cells formed visibly larger and increased number of colonies as compared to vector transfected clones and there was about a three fold increase in invasion with respect to that seen in vector transfected clones in the matrigel invasion assay. On the other hand, DIRAS2 over-expressing C6 clones formed colonies of smaller size compared to vector transfected clones and a marked decrease in migration was observed in the DIRAS2 over-expressing clones of C6. The discrepancies in the results in these two cell lines could be attributed to the presence of other regulators of DIRAS2 function unique to each of the two cell lines. Although in the present study, the results with respect to its predicted function as a tumor-suppressor gene has not been conclusive, the role of DIRAS2 in tumorigenesis may depend on the cellular context in which the protein is expressed. Overall in this study, we have identified a novel down regulated gene signature in astrocytomas consisting of OLFM1, RAB26, MAL2 and MBP. Furthermore, we have proposed that inhibition of NOTCH and PAX6 signaling pathways could be responsible for the down-regulated expression of OLFM1, RAB26, MAL2 and MBP in astrocytomas. Collectively, these results suggest that astrocytomas with activated Notch1 and/or Pax6 signaling could have good prognosis due to the tumor suppressive actions of OLFM1, RAB26, MAL2 and MBP
Abstract file URL: http://etd.ncsi.iisc.ernet.in/abstracts/1707/G23803-Abs.pdf
URI: http://etd.iisc.ernet.in/handle/2005/1318
Appears in Collections:Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics (mrdg)

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