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Agnihotri S.,The Hospital for Sick Childrens Research Institute | Wolf A.,The Hospital for Sick Childrens Research Institute | Munoz D.M.,The Hospital for Sick Childrens Research Institute | Smith C.J.,The Hospital for Sick Childrens Research Institute | And 13 more authors.
Journal of Experimental Medicine | Year: 2011

Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), the most common and lethal primary human brain tumor, exhibits multiple molecular aberrations. We report that loss of the transcription factor GATA4, a negative regulator of normal astrocyte proliferation, is a driver in glioma formation and fulfills the hallmarks of a tumor suppressor gene (TSG). Although GATA4 was expressed in normal brain, loss of GATA4 was observed in 94/163 GBM operative samples and was a negative survival prognostic marker. GATA4 loss occurred through promoter hypermethylation or novel somatic mutations. Loss of GATA4 in normal human astrocytes promoted highgrade astrocytoma formation, in cooperation with other relevant genetic alterations such as activated Ras or loss of TP53. Loss of GATA4 with activated Ras in normal astrocytes promoted a progenitor-like phenotype, formation of neurospheres, and the ability to differentiate into astrocytes, neurons, and oligodendrocytes. Re-expression of GATA4 in human GBM cell lines, primary cultures, and brain tumor-initiating cells suppressed tumor growth in vitro and in vivo through direct activation of the cell cycle inhibitor P21CIP1, independent of TP53. Re-expression of GATA4 also conferred sensitivity of GBM cells to temozolomide, a DNA alkylating agent currently used in GBM therapy. This sensitivity was independent of MGMT (O-6-methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase), the DNA repair enzyme which is often implicated in temozolomide resistance. Instead, GATA4 reduced expression of APNG (alkylpurine-DNA-N-glycosylase), a DNA repair enzyme which is poorly characterized in GBM-mediated temozolomide resistance. Identification and validation of GATA4 as a TSG and its downstream targets in GBM may yield promising novel therapeutic strategies. © 2011 Agnihotri et al.

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