Malignant glioma is one of the deadliest types of cancer. Understanding how the cell of origin progressively evolves toward malignancy in greater detail could provide mechanistic insights and lead to novel concepts for tumor prevention and therapy. Previously we have identified oligodendrocyte precursor cell (OPC) as the cell of origin for glioma following the concurrent deletion of p53 and NF1 using a mouse genetic mosaic system that can reveal mutant cells prior to malignancy. In the current study, we set out to deconstruct the gliomagenic process in two aspects. First, we determined how the individual loss of p53 or NF1 contributes to aberrant behaviors of OPCs. Second, we determined how signaling aberrations in OPCs progressively change from pre‐malignant to transformed stages. We found that while the deletion of NF1 leads to mutant OPC expansion through increased proliferation and decreased differentiation, the deletion of p53 impairs OPC senescence. Signaling analysis showed that, while PI3K and MEK pathways go through stepwise over‐activation, mTOR signaling remains at the basal level in pre‐transforming mutant OPCs but is abruptly up‐regulated in tumor OPCs. Finally, inhibiting mTOR via pharmacological or genetic methods, led to a significant blockade of gliomagenesis but had little impact on pre‐transforming mutant OPCs, suggesting that mTOR is necessary for final transformation but not early progression. In summary, our findings show that deconstructing the tumorigenic process reveals specific aberrations caused by individual gene mutations and altered signaling events at precise timing during tumor progression, which may shed light on tumor‐prevention strategies.
Glia – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
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