Gene Summary

Gene:GLI1; GLI family zinc finger 1
Aliases: GLI
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the Kruppel family of zinc finger proteins. The encoded transcription factor is activated by the sonic hedgehog signal transduction cascade and regulates stem cell proliferation. The activity and nuclear localization of this protein is negatively regulated by p53 in an inhibitory loop. Multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, May 2009]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:zinc finger protein GLI1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 26 August, 2015

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 26 August 2015 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 26 August, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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

Entity Topic PubMed Papers
Skin, Basal Cell CarcinomaGLI1 and Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) - Skin View Publications43
Pancreatic CancerGLI1 and Pancreatic Cancer View Publications29
MedulloblastomaGLI1 and Medulloblastoma View Publications24
Stomach CancerGLI1 and Stomach Cancer View Publications12
Ewing's SarcomaGLI1 upregulation by EWSR1/FLI1 in Ewing's Sarcoma
Zwerne et al (2008) reported that EWS/FLI1 fusion produces transcriptional upregulation of GLI1 and its direct transcriptional target PATCHED1 in a model transformation system. Joo et al (2009) found that several known EWS/FLI1 targets appear to be targeted through GLI1 suggesting a central role for GLI1 in the pathogenesis of Ewing Tumours.
View Publications7

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

Latest Publications: GLI1 (cancer-related)

Liu Q, Sheng W, Dong M, et al.
Gli1 promotes transforming growth factor-beta1- and epidermal growth factor-induced epithelial to mesenchymal transition in pancreatic cancer cells.
Surgery. 2015; 158(1):211-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The Hedgehog signaling pathway and its key target effector Gli1 are linked closely to the development of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) in many cancers. The definite function of Gli1 in regulating the EMT of pancreatic cancer (PC), however, is still unclear.
METHODS: At the cell and tissue levels, we investigated the role of Gli1 in the initiation of EMT in PC with and without external stimulus treatments.
RESULTS: The immunohistochemistry results showed that Gli1 was associated positively with MMP9 but not with E-cad or Vimentin. Gli1 expression was associated positively with tumor T (P = .025) and Union for International Cancer Control stage (P = .032), whereas MMP9 expression was associated positively with lymph node metastasis (P = .017) and Union for International Cancer Control stage (P = .006). Furthermore, patients with Gli1 and MMP9 coexpression had poor overall survival (P = .015). Silencing of Gli1 alone without external stimulus had no effect on EMT but inhibited transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGFβ1)- and epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced EMT in PANC-1, AsPC-1, and BxPC-3 PC cell lines, along with the inhibition of TGFβ1- and EGF-induced EMT-like cell morphology and invasion, down-regulation of E-cad, and up-regulation of MMP9 and Vimentin in those 3 cell lines, respectively.
CONCLUSION: Gli1 silencing alone has no effect on EMT initiation; however, it exerts a protumor role in the aggressive invasion of PC cells by promoting TGFβ1- and EGF-induced EMT.

Smith MJ
Germline and somatic mutations in meningiomas.
Cancer Genet. 2015; 208(4):107-14 [PubMed] Related Publications
Meningiomas arise from the arachnoid layer of the meninges that surround the brain and spine. They account for over one third of all primary central nervous system tumors in adults and confer a significant risk of location-dependent morbidity due to compression or displacement. A significant increase in risk of meningiomas is associated with neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) disease through mutation of the NF2 gene. In addition, approximately 5% of individuals with schwannomatosis disease develop meningiomas, through mutation of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex subunit, SMARCB1. Recently, a second SWI/SNF complex subunit, SMARCE1, was identified as a cause of clear cell meningiomas, indicating a wider role for this complex in meningioma disease. The sonic hedgehog (SHH)-GLI1 signaling pathway gene, SUFU, has also been identified as the cause of hereditary multiple meningiomas in a large Finnish family. The recent identification of somatic mutations in components of the SHH-GLI1 and AKT1-MTOR signaling pathways indicates the potential for cross talk of these pathways in the development of meningiomas. This review describes the known meningioma predisposition genes and their links to the recently identified somatic mutations.

Eisner A, Pazyra-Murphy MF, Durresi E, et al.
The Eya1 phosphatase promotes Shh signaling during hindbrain development and oncogenesis.
Dev Cell. 2015; 33(1):22-35 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 06/04/2016 Related Publications
Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling is critical in development and oncogenesis, but the mechanisms regulating this pathway remain unclear. Although protein phosphorylation clearly affects Shh signaling, little is known about phosphatases governing the pathway. Here, we conducted a small hairpin RNA (shRNA) screen of the phosphatome and identified Eya1 as a positive regulator of Shh signaling. We find that the catalytically active phosphatase Eya1 cooperates with the DNA-binding protein Six1 to promote gene induction in response to Shh and that Eya1/Six1 together regulate Gli transcriptional activators. We show that Eya1, which is mutated in a human deafness disorder, branchio-oto-renal syndrome, is critical for Shh-dependent hindbrain growth and development. Moreover, Eya1 drives the growth of medulloblastoma, a Shh-dependent hindbrain tumor. Together, these results identify Eya1 and Six1 as key components of the Shh transcriptional network in normal development and in oncogenesis.

Zuo M, Rashid A, Churi C, et al.
Novel therapeutic strategy targeting the Hedgehog signalling and mTOR pathways in biliary tract cancer.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(6):1042-51 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/03/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Activation of the PI3K/mTOR and Hedgehog (Hh) signalling pathways occurs frequently in biliary tract cancer (BTC). Crosstalk between these pathways occurs in other gastrointestinal cancers. The respective signalling inhibitors rapamycin and vismodegib may inhibit BTC synergistically and suppress cancer stem cells (CSCs).
METHODS: Gene expression profiling for p70S6k and Gli1 was performed with BTC cell lines. Tumour and pathway inhibitory effects of rapamycin and vismodegib were investigated in BTC preclinical models and CSCs.
RESULTS: Rapamycin and vismodegib synergistically reduced BTC cell viability and proliferation. This drug combination arrested BTC Mz-ChA-1 cells in the G1 phase but had no significant effect on the cell cycle of BTC Sk-ChA-1 cells. Combined treatment inhibited the proliferation of CSCs and ALDH-positive cells. Nanog and Oct-4 expression in CSCs was decreased by the combination treatment. Western blotting results showed the p-p70S6K, p-Gli1, p-mTOR, and p-AKT protein expression were inhibited by the combination treatment in BTC cells. In an Mz-ChA-1 xenograft model, combination treatment resulted in 80% inhibition of tumour growth and prolonged tumour doubling time. In 4 of 10 human BTC specimens, tumour p-p70S6K and Gli1 protein expression levels were decreased with the combination treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: Targeted inhibition of the PI3K/mTOR and Hhpathways indicates a new avenue for BTC treatment with combination therapy.

Xu JH, Yang HP, Zhou XD, et al.
Autophagy Accompanied with Bisdemethoxycurcumin-induced Apoptosis in Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Cells.
Biomed Environ Sci. 2015; 28(2):105-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effects of bisdemethoxycurcumin (BDMC) on non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell line, A549, and the highly metastatic lung cancer 95D cells.
METHODS: CCK-8 assay was used to assess the effect of BDMC on cytotoxicity. Flow cytometry was used to evaluate apoptosis. Western blot analysis, electron microscopy, and quantification of GFP-LC3 punctuates were used to test the effect of BDMC on autophagy and apoptosis of lung cancer cells.
RESULTS: BDMC inhibited the viability of NSCLC cells, but had no cytotoxic effects on lung small airway epithelial cells (SAECs). The apoptotic cell death induced by BDMC was accompanied with the induction of autophagy in NSCLC cells. Blockage of autophagy by the autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA) repressed the growth inhibitory effects and induction of apoptosis by BDMC. In addition, BDMC treatment significantly decreased smoothened (SMO) and the transcription factor glioma-associated oncogene 1 (Gli1) expression. Furthermore, depletion of Gli1 by siRNA and cyclopamine (a specific SMO inhibitor) induced autophagy.
CONCLUSION: Aberrant activation of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling has been implicated in several human cancers, including lung cancers. The present findings provide direct evidence that BDMC-induced autophagy plays a pro-death role in NSCLC, in part, by inhibiting Hedgehog signaling.

Mizuochi H, Fujii K, Shiohama T, et al.
Hedgehog signaling is synergistically enhanced by nutritional deprivation and ligand stimulation in human fibroblasts of Gorlin syndrome.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 457(3):318-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hedgehog signaling is a pivotal developmental pathway that comprises hedgehog, PTCH1, SMO, and GLI proteins. Mutations in PTCH1 are responsible for Gorlin syndrome, which is characterized by developmental defects and tumorigenicity. Although the hedgehog pathway has been investigated extensively in Drosophila and mice, its functional roles have not yet been determined in human cells. In order to elucidate the mechanism by which transduction of the hedgehog signal is regulated in human tissues, we employed human fibroblasts derived from three Gorlin syndrome patients and normal controls. We investigated GLI1 transcription, downstream of hedgehog signaling, to assess native signal transduction, and then treated fibroblasts with a recombinant human hedgehog protein with or without serum deprivation. We also examined the transcriptional levels of hedgehog-related genes under these conditions. The expression of GLI1 mRNA was significantly higher in Gorlin syndrome-derived fibroblasts than in control cells. Hedgehog stimulation and nutritional deprivation synergistically enhanced GLI1 transcription levels, and this was blocked more efficiently by vismodegib, a SMO inhibitor, than by the natural compound, cyclopamine. Messenger RNA profiling revealed the increased expression of Wnt signaling and morphogenetic molecules in these fibroblasts. These results indicated that the hedgehog stimulation and nutritional deprivation synergistically activated the hedgehog signaling pathway in Gorlin syndrome fibroblasts, and this was associated with increments in the transcription levels of hedgehog-related genes such as those involved in Wnt signaling. These fibroblasts may become a significant tool for predicting the efficacies of hedgehog molecular-targeted therapies such as vismodegib.

Lei J, Fan L, Wei G, et al.
Gli-1 is crucial for hypoxia-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition and invasion of breast cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(4):3119-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hypoxia can induce HIF-1α expression and promote the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and invasion of cancer cells. However, their mechanisms remain unclear. The objective of this study was to evaluate the role of Gli-1, an effector of the Hedgehog pathway, in the hypoxia-induced EMT and invasion of breast cancer cells. Human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells were transfected with HIF-1α or Gli-1-specific small interfering RNA (siRNA) and cultured under a normoxic or hypoxic condition. The relative levels of HIF-1α, Gli-1, E-cadherin, and vimentin in the cells were characterized by quantitative RT-PCR and Western blot assays, and the invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells was determined. Data was analyzed by Student T test, one-way ANOVA, and post hoc LSD test or Mann-Whitney U when applicable. We observed that hypoxia significantly upregulated the relative levels of vimentin expression, but downregulated E-cadherin expression and promoted the invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells, associated with upregulated HIF-1α translation and Gil-1 expression. Knockdown of HIF-1α mitigated hypoxia-modulated Gil-1, vimentin and E-cadherin expression, and invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells. Knockdown of Gil-1 did not significantly change hypoxia-upregulated HIF-1α translation but completely eliminated hypoxia-modulated vimentin and E-cadherin expression and invasion of MDA-MB-231 cells. These data indicate that Gil-1 is crucial for hypoxia-induced EMT and invasion of breast cancer cells and may be a therapeutic target for intervention of breast cancer metastasis.

Shahi MH, Zazpe I, Afzal M, et al.
Epigenetic regulation of human hedgehog interacting protein in glioma cell lines and primary tumor samples.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(4):2383-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioma constitutes one of the most common groups of brain tumors, and its prognosis is influenced by different genetic and epigenetic modulations. In this study, we demonstrated low or no expression of hedgehog interacting protein (HHIP) in most of the cell lines and primary glioma tumor samples. We further proceeded to promoter methylation study of this gene in the same cell lines and primary tumor samples and found 87 % (7/8) HHIP methylation in glioblastoma cell lines and 75 % (33/44) in primary tumor samples. These methylation pattern correlates with low or unexpressed HHIP in both cell lines and primary tumor samples. Our results suggest the possibility of epigenetic regulation of this gene in glioma, similarly to medulloblastoma, gastric, hepatic, and pancreatic cancers. Also, HHIP might be a diagnostic or prognostic marker in glioma and help to the detection of these tumors in early stages of disease.

Boopalan T, Arumugam A, Parada J, et al.
Receptor activator for nuclear factor-κB ligand signaling promotes progesterone-mediated estrogen-induced mammary carcinogenesis.
Cancer Sci. 2015; 106(1):25-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related death in women. Prolonged exposure to the ovarian hormones estrogen and progesterone increases the risk of breast cancer. Although estrogen is known as a primary factor in mammary carcinogenesis, very few studies have investigated the role of progesterone. Receptor activator for nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) ligand (RANKL) plays an important role in progesterone-induced mammary carcinogenesis. However, the molecular mechanism underlying RANKL-induced mammary carcinogenesis remains unknown. In our current study, we show that RANKL induces glioma-associated oncogene homolog 1 (GLI-1) in estrogen-induced progesterone-mediated mammary carcinogenesis. In vivo experiments were carried out using ACI rats and in vitro experiments were carried out in MCF-7 cells. In ACI rats, mifepristone significantly reduced the incidence of mammary tumors. Likewise, mifepristone also inhibited the proliferation of MCF-7 cells. Hormone treatments induced RANKL, receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK), and NF-κB in a protein kinase B-dependent manner and inhibited apoptosis by activation of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl2 in mammary tumors and MCF-7 cells. Mechanistic studies in MCF-7 cells reveal that RANKL induced upstream stimulatory factor-1 and NF-κB, resulting in subsequent activation of their downstream target GLI-1. We have identified that progesterone mediates estrogen-induced mammary carcinogenesis through activation of GLI-1 in a RANKL-dependent manner.

Song J, Zhang J, Wang J, et al.
β1 integrin mediates colorectal cancer cell proliferation and migration through regulation of the Hedgehog pathway.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(3):2013-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
β1 integrin (ITGB1) is the major expressed integrin protein of normal cells and tumor-associated cells. It is often up-regulated in human malignancies and is involved in many developmental processes, such as tumor progression and metastasis. However, little is known about the function of ITGB1 in colorectal cancer. We constructed lentiviral vectors expressing ITGB1 or ITGB1-specific RNA interference (RNAi) and an unrelated control vector. After infecting HT29 cells in vitro, proliferation and migration were evaluated by Cell Counting Kit 8 (CCK-8) assays, transwell invasion assays, and Western blots. The influence of lentivirus infection on the tumor development capacity of HT29 cells in vivo was examined by xenografting the tumor cells. The expression of ITGB1 in the xenografted tumor cells was analyzed by immunohistochemistry. The up-regulation of ITGB1 significantly increased the proliferation in HT29 cells in vitro. Moreover, we found that the overexpression of ITGB1 up-regulated sonic hedgehog (Shh) while down-regulating Gli1 and SuFu in HT29-ITGB1 cells compared to controls. Moreover, the levels of c-myc and cyclin D1 proteins were up-regulated. Transwell assays showed that the number of migrating HT29-RNAi cells was lower than that in the other cell groups, indicating that ITGB1 significantly enhances the invasive ability of HT29 cells. In addition to these in vitro results, ITGB1 was found to be a significantly effective growth factor in a xenografted tumor mouse model. These results suggest that ITGB1 induces growth and invasion in a human colorectal cancer cell line through the hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway in vitro and in vivo.

Yao CJ, Han TY, Shih PH, et al.
Elimination of cancer stem-like side population in human glioblastoma cells accompanied with stemness gene suppression by Korean herbal recipe MSC500.
Integr Cancer Ther. 2014; 13(6):541-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: High-grade gliomas are the most common and invasive malignant brain tumors in adults, and they are almost universally fatal because of drug resistance and recurrence. In spite of the progress in adjuvant therapy (like temozolomide) and irradiation after surgery, no effective salvage therapy is currently available for relapsed patients. A Korean herbal recipe MSC500 has been reported to have beneficial therapeutic effects in patients with high-grade gliomas who are relapsed or refractory to conventional treatments. But the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear.
METHODS: As Cancer stem cell (CSC) plays a pivotal role in the resistance to conventional cancer therapy, we explored the effects of MSC500 on the CSC-like side population (SP) in GBM8401 human glioblastoma multiforme cells.
RESULTS: Compared with the parental cells, the SP cells were more resistant to temozolomide but sensitive to MSC500. The mRNA levels of stemness genes such as Nanog, CD133, and ABCG2 were much higher in the SP cells, and so was E-cadherin, which was reported to correlate with the aggressiveness of glioblastoma multiforme. Treatment with MSC500 decreased the proportion of SP cells and high ALDH activity cells from 1.6% to 0.3% and from 0.9% to 0.1%, respectively, accompanied with suppression of the aforementioned stemness genes and E-cadherin, as well as other CSC markers such as ABCB5, Oct-4, Sox-2, β-catenin, Gli-1, and Notch-1.
CONCLUSION: Our results suggest the potential role of MSC500 as an integrative and complementary therapeutic for advanced or refractory high-grade glioma patients.

Yamamichi F, Shigemura K, Behnsawy HM, et al.
Sonic hedgehog and androgen signaling in tumor and stromal compartments drives epithelial-mesenchymal transition in prostate cancer.
Scand J Urol. 2014; 48(6):523-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling, androgens and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) are related to prostate cancer (PCa) progression. The aim of this study was to investigate how Shh and androgen [dihydrotestosterone (DHT)] signaling act in prostate epithelial and stromal compartments and whether this signaling pathway drives EMT and promotes PCa progression.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: LNCaP, normal prostate fibroblast (NPF) and cancer-associated prostate fibroblast (CPF) cells were studied with DHT and/or the Shh signaling inhibitor cyclopamine. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was performed to evaluate the expressions of a potential Shh target gene, osteonectin (ON) and EMT-associated markers (E-cadherin, N-cadherin and vimentin). Immunohistochemical studies using PCa prostatectomy samples were performed to assess the expression levels of ON, Gli-1, androgen receptor, Shh, E-cadherin, N-cadherin and vimentin.
RESULTS: While DHT enhanced cell proliferation in CPF more than LNCaP or NPF, cyclopamine inhibited cell proliferation enhanced by DHT in CPF. Real-time RT-PCR showed whereas both Shh and DHT induced N-cadherin and vimentin, DHT also induced the expression of osteonectin in LNCaP and cyclopamine blocked these expressions in osteonectin, N-cadherin and vimentin (p = 0.0084, 0.0002 and 0.0373, respectively). Immunohistochemistry showed that high expression of stromal, but, not epithelial, ON was significantly correlated with serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA) (p = 0.031), and high expression of Gli-1 and low expression of stromal ON with PSA recurrence (p = 0.0114 and p = 0.0005, respectively).
CONCLUSIONS: Shh and androgen signaling in prostate tumor and stromal compartments drives EMT, and thus may play some role in PCa progression. Cyclopamine may be one therapeutic strategy for PCa.

Li YY, Tian T, Zhang R, et al.
Association between polymorphism of GLI1 gene SNP rs2228226 and chronic lymphocytic leukemia in Chinese population.
Med Oncol. 2014; 31(12):294 [PubMed] Related Publications
A non-synonymous single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) (rs2228226C>G), in exon 12 of glioma-associated oncogene homolog 1 (GLI1) (Q1100E), encodes a change from glutamine to glutamic acid (Q1100E). The variant GLI1 protein exhibited reduced transactivation function in vivo, decreasing the ability of activating hedgehog signal, which has been proposed as an unfavorable prognostic marker in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The GLI1 Q1100E (NCBI SNP ID: rs2228226) genotypes in 155 CLL patients were detected by direct sequencing. The difference between frequencies of GLI1 Q1100E genotype among CLL patients and controls was statistically significant (p < 0.001). Logistic regression analysis revealed that in comparison with G/G, GLI1 SNP1100 C/C genotype was associated with a significantly increased risk of CLL (OR 3.787, 95% CI 1.814-7.907, p < 0.001). Compared with the SNP1100 C/G genotype, C/C genotype significantly increased the risk of CLL (OR 3.860, 95% CI 1.827-8.153, p < 0.001). In addition, combining C/G with G/G, C/C genotype also significantly increased the risk of CLL (OR 3.820, 95% CI 1.885-7.742, p < 0.001). The comparison between frequencies of C and G allele of GLI1 was also statistically significant (p = 0.004). In the entire cohort, SNP1100 genotypes were found in association with Binet stage (p = 0.045) and trisomy 12 (p = 0.036). By comparing C/C with G allele (C/G+G/G) genotype, there was a significant correlation with trisomy 12 (p = 0.013). This study demonstrated that GLI1 Q1100E polymorphism was closely associated with CLL. C/C genotype contributes to the risk of developing CLL and correlates with trisomy 12. Patients with trisomy 12 are susceptible group of CLL.

Chakraborty C, Dutta S, Mukherjee N, et al.
Inactivation of PTCH1 is associated with the development of cervical carcinoma: clinical and prognostic implication.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(2):1143-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of this study was to analyze the alterations of PTCH1 (deletion/promoter methylation/mutation/expression) during the development of cervical cancer (CACX). For this purpose, deletion/methylation of PTCH1 were analyzed in HPV16 positive exfoliated asymptomatic cervical swabs (n = 74), cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) (n = 32), CACX (n = 174) samples, and two CACX cell lines. The deletion of PTCH1 increased significantly from CIN (11.5%) to stage I/II (42%) and comparable in stage III/IV (46%). Low frequency (14-16%) of PTCH1 methylation was seen in the asymptomatic exfoliated cervical cells and in the normal epithelium adjacent to the tumor followed by a significant increase in CIN (31%) to stage I/II (57%) and comparable in stage III/IV (58%). The overall alterations (deletion/methylation) of PTCH1 significantly increased from CIN (34%) to stage I/II (70%) and comparable in stage III/IV (69%). Interestingly, in the normal epithelium, methylation of PTCH1 was high in basal/parabasal layers (83%), followed by decrease in the spinous layer (33 %), and showed significant inverse correlation with its expression. Reduced expression of PTCH1 seen in tumors showed a significant association with its alterations (deletion/methylation). The expression pattern of PTCH1 showed an inverse correlation with the nuclear expression of GLI1 in the normal epithelium as well as in the tumors. High nuclear expression of HPV16, E6, and E7 were seen in basal/parabasal layers of the normal epithelium and also in tumors. The PTCH1 alterations (deletion and/or methylation) in tumors and its methylation in adjacent normal epithelium were associated with poor prognosis of patients. Thus, our data suggests that activation of the Hedgehog pathway due to PTCH1 inactivation along with HPV infection is important in CACX development.

Wang J, Gu S, Huang J, et al.
Inhibition of autophagy potentiates the efficacy of Gli inhibitor GANT-61 in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:768 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/03/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Aberrant Hedgehog (Hh) signaling is often associated with neuroblastoma (NB), a childhood malignancy with varying clinical outcomes due to different molecular characteristics. Inhibition of Hh signaling with small molecule inhibitors, particularly with GANT-61, significantly suppresses NB growth. However, NB with MYCN amplification is less sensitive to GANT-61 than those without MYCN amplification.
METHODS: Autophagic process was examined in two MYCN amplified and two MYCN non-amplified NB cells treated with GANT-61. Subsequently, chemical and genetic approaches were applied with GANT-61 together to evaluate the role of autophagy in GANT-61 induced cell death.
RESULTS: Here we show that GANT-61 enhanced autophagy in MYCN amplified NB cells. Both an autophagic inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA) and genetic disruption of ATG5 or ATG7 expression suppressed GANT-61 induced autophagy and significantly increased apoptotic cell death, whereas pre-treatment with an apoptotic inhibitor, Z-VAD-FMK, rescued GANT-61 induced cell death and had no effect on the autophagic process. In the other hand, GANT-61 barely induced autophagy in MYCN non-amplified NB cells, but overexpression of MYCN in MYCN non-amplified NB cells recapitulated GANT-61 induced autophagy seen in MYCN amplified NB cells, suggesting that the level of GANT-61 induced autophagy in NB cells is related to MYCN expression level in cells.
CONCLUSION: Aberrant Hh signaling activation as an oncogenic driver in NB renders inhibition of Hh signaling an effective measure to suppress NB growth. However, our data suggest that enhanced autophagy concomitant with Hh signaling inhibition acts as a pro-survival factor to maintain cell viability, which reduces GANT-61 efficacy. Besides, MYCN amplification is likely involved in the induction of the pro-survival autophagy. Overall, simultaneous inhibition of both Hh signaling and autophagy could be a better way to treat MYCN amplified NB.

Büller NV, Rosekrans SL, Metcalfe C, et al.
Stromal Indian hedgehog signaling is required for intestinal adenoma formation in mice.
Gastroenterology. 2015; 148(1):170-180.e6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Indian hedgehog (IHH) is an epithelial-derived signal in the intestinal stroma, inducing factors that restrict epithelial proliferation and suppress activation of the immune system. In addition to these rapid effects of IHH signaling, IHH is required to maintain a stromal phenotype in which myofibroblasts and smooth muscle cells predominate. We investigated the role of IHH signaling during development of intestinal neoplasia in mice.
METHODS: Glioma-associated oncogene (Gli1)-CreERT2 and Patched (Ptch)-lacZ reporter mice were crossed with Apc(Min) mice to generate Gli1CreERT2-Rosa26-ZSGreen-Apc(Min) and Ptch-lacZ-Apc(Min) mice, which were used to identify hedgehog-responsive cells. Cyp1a1Cre-Apc (Apc(HET)) mice, which develop adenomas after administration of β-naphthoflavone, were crossed with mice with conditional disruption of Ihh in the small intestine epithelium. Apc(Min) mice were crossed with mice in which sonic hedgehog (SHH) was overexpressed specifically in the intestinal epithelium. Intestinal tissues were collected and analyzed histologically and by immunohistochemistry and quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. We also analyzed levels of IHH messenger RNA and expression of IHH gene targets in intestinal tissues from patients with familial adenomatous polyposis (n = 18) or sessile serrated adenomas (n = 15) and normal colonic tissue from control patients (n = 12).
RESULTS: Expression of IHH messenger RNA and its targets were increased in intestinal adenomas from patients and mice compared with control colon tissues. In mice, IHH signaling was exclusively paracrine, from the epithelium to the stroma. Loss of IHH from Apc(HET) mice almost completely blocked adenoma development, and overexpression of SHH increased the number and size of adenomas that developed. Loss of IHH from Apc(HET) mice changed the composition of the adenoma stroma; cells that expressed α-smooth muscle actin or desmin were lost, along with expression of cyclooxygenase-2, and the number of vimentin-positive cells increased.
CONCLUSIONS: Apc mutant epithelial cells secrete IHH to maintain an intestinal stromal phenotype that is required for adenoma development in mice.

Hui W, Kuisheng C, Hongxin Z, et al.
Influence of smoothened siRNA on human esophageal cancer cell line EC9706 proliferation and apoptosis.
Pak J Pharm Sci. 2014; 27(5 Suppl):1661-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Apply siRNA technology to take Smoothened (Smo) genetic locus, the possibility of Hhsignaling pathway, and also inhibits esophageal squamous carcinoma cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis. Utilizing SmosiRNA transfected esophageal squamous carcinoma EC9706 cells, adopting RT-PCR and Western blot technology to detect Smo, Gli1 mRNA and protein expression in each group of cells, employing MTT and FCM to detect the influence of SmosiRNA on cell proliferation and apoptosis. Compared with each control group, after transfected SmosiRNA transfected cell for 24h, 48 h and 72 h, SmosiRNA and Gli1 mRNA expression was evenly reduced obviously, Smo and Gli1 protein expression level was also reduced clearly. SmosiRNA could inhabit cell proliferation, and even promote cell apoptosis. Smo gene played a role in regulating and controlling esophageal squamous carcinoma cell proliferation and apoptosis and Smo was likely to be an effective target spot for tumor gene therapy.

Colavito SA, Zou MR, Yan Q, et al.
Significance of glioma-associated oncogene homolog 1 (GLI1) expression in claudin-low breast cancer and crosstalk with the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NFκB) pathway.
Breast Cancer Res. 2014; 16(5):444 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/03/2016 Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: The recently identified claudin-low subtype of breast cancer is enriched for cells with stem-like and mesenchymal-like characteristics. This subtype is most often triple-negative (lacking the estrogen and progesterone receptors (ER, PR) as well as lacking epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) amplification) and has a poor prognosis. There are few targeted treatment options available for patients with this highly aggressive type of cancer.
METHODS: Using a high throughput inhibitor screen, we identified high expression of glioma-associated oncogene homolog 1 (GLI1), the effector molecule of the hedgehog (Hh) pathway, as a critical determinant of cell lines that have undergone an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT).
RESULTS: High GLI1 expression is a property of claudin-low cells and tumors and correlates with markers of EMT and breast cancer stem cells. Knockdown of GLI1 expression in claudin-low cell lines resulted in reduced cell viability, motility, clonogenicity, self-renewal, and reduced tumor growth of orthotopic xenografts. We observed non-canonical activation of GLI1 in claudin-low and EMT cell lines, and identified crosstalk with the NFκB pathway.
CONCLUSIONS: This work highlights the importance of GLI1 in the maintenance of characteristics of metastatic breast cancer stem cells. Remarkably, treatment with an inhibitor of the NFκB pathway reproducibly reduces GLI1 expression and protein levels. We further provide direct evidence for the binding of the NFκB subunit p65 to the GLI1 promoter in both EMT and claudin-low cell lines. Our results uncover crosstalk between NFκB and GLI1 signals and suggest that targeting these pathways may be effective against the claudin-low breast cancer subtype.

Steg AD, Burke MR, Amm HM, et al.
Proteasome inhibition reverses hedgehog inhibitor and taxane resistance in ovarian cancer.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(16):7065-80 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/03/2016 Related Publications
The goal of this study was to determine whether combined targeted therapies, specifically those against the Notch, hedgehog and ubiquitin-proteasome pathways, could overcome ovarian cancer chemoresistance. Chemoresistant ovarian cancer cells were exposed to gamma-secretase inhibitors (GSI-I, Compound E) or the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib, alone and in combination with the hedgehog antagonist, LDE225. Bortezomib, alone and in combination with LDE225, was evaluated for effects on paclitaxel efficacy. Cell viability and cell cycle analysis were assessed by MTT assay and propidium iodide staining, respectively. Proteasome activity and gene expression were determined by luminescence assay and qPCR, respectively. Studies demonstrated that GSI-I, but not Compound E, inhibited proteasome activity, similar to bortezomib. Proteasome inhibition decreased hedgehog target genes (PTCH1, GLI1 and GLI2) and increased LDE225 sensitivity in vitro. Bortezomib, alone and in combination with LDE225, increased paclitaxel sensitivity through apoptosis and G2/M arrest. Expression of the multi-drug resistance gene ABCB1/MDR1 was decreased and acetylation of α-tubulin, a marker of microtubule stabilization, was increased following bortezomib treatment. HDAC6 inhibitor tubastatin-a demonstrated that microtubule effects are associated with hedgehog inhibition and sensitization to paclitaxel and LDE225. These results suggest that proteasome inhibition, through alteration of microtubule dynamics and hedgehog signaling, can reverse taxane-mediated chemoresistance.

Diao Y, Rahman MF, Villegas VE, et al.
The impact of S6K1 kinase on neuroblastoma cell proliferation is independent of GLI1 signaling.
BMC Cancer. 2014; 14:600 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 17/03/2016 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The crosstalk between Hedgehog (HH) signaling and other signal transduction cascades has been extensively studied in different cancers. In neuroblastoma, mTOR/S6K1 signaling is known to have a role in the development of this disease and recent evidence also implicates the HH pathway. Moreover, S6K1 kinase has been shown to phosphorylate GLI1, the effector of HH signaling, promoting GLI1 transcriptional activity and oncogenic function in esophageal adenocarcinoma. In this study, we examined the possible interplay of S6K1 and GLI1 signaling in neuroblastoma.
METHODS: siRNA knockdowns were used to suppress S6K1 and GLI1 expression, and the siRNA effects were validated by real-time PCR and Western blotting. Cell proliferation analysis was performed with the EdU incorporation assay. Cytotoxic analysis with increasing concentrations of PI3K/mTOR and GLI inhibitors, individually and in combination, was used to determine drug response.
RESULTS: Although knockdown of either S6K1 or GLI1 reduces the cellular proliferation of neuroblastoma cells, there is little effect of S6K1 on the expression of GLI1 mRNA and protein and on the capacity of GLI1 to activate target genes. No detectable phosphorylation of GLI1 is observed prior or following S6K1 knockdown. GLI1 overexpression can not rescue the reduced proliferation elicited by S6K1 knockdown. Moreover, inhibitors of PI3K/mTOR and GLI signaling reduced neuroblastoma cell growth, but no additional growth inhibitory effects were detected when the two classes of drugs were combined.
CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrate that the impact of S6K1 kinase on neuroblastoma cells is not mediated through modulation of GLI1 expression/activity.

Li N, Chen M, Truong S, et al.
Determinants of Gli2 co-activation of wildtype and naturally truncated androgen receptors.
Prostate. 2014; 74(14):1400-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Gli2, a transcription factor in the Hedgehog pathway, is overexpressed in castrate-resistant prostate cancer (PCa). Previously we showed that Gli2 overexpression increased transcriptional activity of androgen receptor (AR) and conferred androgen growth-independence to normally growth-dependent PCa cells. Here we localized the regions of AR-Gli2 protein interaction and determined the domains within Gli2 needed for AR co-activation.
METHODS: Co-immunoprecipitation and GST-pulldown assays were used to define AR-Gli binding domains. Co-activation assays using androgen-responsive promoter reporters were used to define Gli2 regions needed for AR co-activation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays were used to confirm nuclear interactions of Gli2 with AR in PCa cells.
RESULTS: The Gli2 C-terminal domain (CTD) is sufficient for AR co-activation. Two elements within the CTD were required: (1) an AR binding domain within aa628-897; and (2) at least part of the Gli2 transactivation domain within aa1252-1586. In turn, Gli2 binds the tau5/AF5 ligand-independent activation domain in the AR N-terminus. Mutations in the WxxLF motif in tau5/AF5 greatly diminished binding to Gli2-CTD. Gli2 interaction with AR tau5/AF5 was further substantiated by the ability of Gli2/Gli2-CTD to co-activate truncated AR splice variants (AR-V7/ARV567es). ChIP assays confirmed that Gli2 associates with chromatin at androgen response elements found near androgen-responsive genes in LNCaP cells. These assays also showed that AR associates with chromatin containing a Gli-response element near a Gli-responsive gene.
CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate that Gli2 overexpression in PCa cells might support development of castration resistant PCa through AR co-activation and suggests that AR might modulate transcription from Gli2.

Mathew E, Collins MA, Fernandez-Barrena MG, et al.
The transcription factor GLI1 modulates the inflammatory response during pancreatic tissue remodeling.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(40):27727-43 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 03/10/2015 Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest human malignancies, is almost uniformly associated with a mutant, constitutively active form of the oncogene Kras. Studies in genetically engineered mouse models have defined a requirement for oncogenic KRAS in both the formation of pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasias, the most common precursor lesions to pancreatic cancer, and in the maintenance and progression of these lesions. Previous work using an inducible model allowing tissue-specific and reversible expression of oncogenic Kras in the pancreas indicates that inactivation of this GTPase at the pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia stage promotes pancreatic tissue repair. Here, we extend these findings to identify GLI1, a transcriptional effector of the Hedgehog pathway, as a central player in pancreatic tissue repair upon Kras inactivation. Deletion of a single allele of Gli1 results in improper stromal remodeling and perdurance of the inflammatory infiltrate characteristic of pancreatic tumorigenesis. Strikingly, this partial loss of Gli1 affects activated fibroblasts in the pancreas and the recruitment of immune cells that are vital for tissue recovery. Analysis of the mechanism using expression and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays identified a subset of cytokines, including IL-6, mIL-8, Mcp-1, and M-csf (Csf1), as direct GLI1 target genes potentially mediating this phenomenon. Finally, we demonstrate that canonical Hedgehog signaling, a known regulator of Gli1 activity, is required for pancreas recovery. Collectively, these data delineate a new pathway controlling tissue repair and highlight the importance of GLI1 in regulation of the pancreatic microenvironment during this cellular process.

Ishikawa M, Sonobe M, Imamura N, et al.
Expression of the GLI family genes is associated with tumor progression in advanced lung adenocarcinoma.
World J Surg Oncol. 2014; 12:253 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 03/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway is aberrantly activated in various cancers. Expression of the GLI family of genes, which encode for transcriptional factors of the Hh pathway, has not been fully assessed in clinical samples of advanced lung adenocarcinoma. In this study, we retrospectively evaluated the expression of the GLI family of genes in advanced stage lung adenocarcinoma samples and determined their relation to patient survival.
METHODS: The levels of GLI1, GLI2, and GLI3 mRNA expression were measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction in surgically obtained tissue samples from stage II-IV lung adenocarcinoma patients (n = 102). Pairwise comparisons between all three GLI mRNA expression were performed, and after dichotomizing the patients into low and high expression groups according to each GLI mRNA expression level, survival curves were calculated and multivariate analyses were conducted.
RESULTS: Significant positive correlation was found between GLI1 and GLI3 mRNA expression (P <0.001). Tumors with higher expression (upper 15%) of GLI1 or GLI3 mRNA were associated with poor survival in stage II-IV (5-year overall survival rates: GLI1 mRNA low, 41.7% vs. high, 20.0%, P = 0.0074; GLI3 mRNA low, 43.1% vs. high, 13.3%, P = 0.0062) and stage III-IV (5-year overall survival rates: GLI1 mRNA low, 34.0% vs. high, 0%, P = 0.0012; GLI3 mRNA low, 33.4% vs. high, 7.7%, P = 0.057) lung adenocarcinoma patients. GLI2 mRNA expression did not appear to have great clinical significance. Multivariate analysis revealed higher GLI1 mRNA expression as an independent factor for unfavorable patient survival (P = 0.0030, hazard ratio = 3.1, 95% confidence interval = 1.5-6.2), as well as tumor differentiation and stage.
CONCLUSIONS: Expression of GLI1 and GLI3 mRNA was strongly correlated, and their overexpression, especially that of GLI1, was found to be predictive of aggressive tumor behavior. This study indicates that the Hh pathway may be a key oncogenic signaling network in tumor pathogenesis and, thus, a potential therapeutic target in advanced lung adenocarcinoma.

Heiden KB, Williamson AJ, Doscas ME, et al.
The sonic hedgehog signaling pathway maintains the cancer stem cell self-renewal of anaplastic thyroid cancer by inducing snail expression.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014; 99(11):E2178-87 [PubMed] Related Publications
CONTEXT: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been recently identified in thyroid neoplasm. Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) contains a higher percentage of CSCs than well-differentiated thyroid cancer. The signaling pathways and the transcription factors that regulate thyroid CSC self-renewal remain poorly understood.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to use two ATC cell lines (KAT-18 and SW1736) as a model to study the role of the sonic hedgehog (Shh) pathway in maintaining thyroid CSC self-renewal and to understand its underlying molecular mechanisms.
DESIGN: The expression and activity of aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), a marker for thyroid CSCs, was analyzed by Western blot and ALDEFLUOR assay, respectively. The effect of three Shh pathway inhibitors (cyclopamine, HhAntag, GANT61), Shh, Gli1, Snail knockdown, and Gli1 overexpression on thyroid CSC self-renewal was analyzed by ALDEFLUOR assay and thyrosphere formation. The sensitivity of transfected KAT-18 cells to radiation was evaluated by a colony survival assay.
RESULTS: Western blot analysis revealed that ALDH protein levels in five thyroid cancer cell lines (WRO82, a follicular thyroid cancer cell line; BCPAP and TPC1, two papillary thyroid cancer cell lines; KAT-18 and SW1736, two ATC cell lines) correlated with the percentage of the ALDH(High) cells as well as Gli1 and Snail expression. The Shh pathway inhibitors, Shh and Gli1 knockdown, in KAT-18 cells decreased thyroid CSC self-renewal and increased radiation sensitivity. In contrast, Gli1 overexpression led to increased thyrosphere formation, an increased percentage of ALDH(High) cells, and increased radiation resistance in KAT-18 cells. Inhibition of the Shh pathway by three specific inhibitors led to decreased Snail expression and a decreased number of ALDH(High) cells in KAT-18 and SW1736. Snail gene knockdown decreased the number of ALDH(High) cells in KAT-18 and SW1736 cells.
CONCLUSIONS: The Shh pathway promotes the CSC self-renewal in ATC cell lines by Gli1-induced Snail expression.

Liu Z, Xu J, He J, et al.
A critical role of autocrine sonic hedgehog signaling in human CD138+ myeloma cell survival and drug resistance.
Blood. 2014; 124(13):2061-71 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 03/10/2015 Related Publications
Hedgehog (Hh) signaling plays an important role in the oncogenesis of B-cell malignancies such as multiple myeloma (MM). However, the source of Hh ligand sonic hedgehog (SHH) and its target cells remains controversial. Previous studies showed that stromally induced Hh signaling is essential for the tumor cells and that CD19(+)CD138(-) MM stem cells are the target cells of Hh signaling. Here we demonstrate that SHH was mainly secreted by human myeloma cells but not by stromal cells in MM bone marrow. Autocrine SHH enhanced CD138(+) myeloma cell proliferation and protected myeloma cells from spontaneous and stress-induced apoptosis. More importantly, autocrine SHH protected myeloma cells against chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. Combinational treatment with chemotherapy and SHH-neutralizing antibody displayed synergistic antimyeloma effects. Mechanistic studies showed that SHH signaling activated the SHH/GLI1/BCL-2 axis, leading to the inhibition of myeloma cell apoptosis. Thus, this study identifies the myeloma autocrine Hh signaling pathway as a potential target for the treatment of MM. Targeting this pathway may improve the efficacy of chemotherapy in MM patients.

Rack PG, Ni J, Payumo AY, et al.
Arhgap36-dependent activation of Gli transcription factors.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(30):11061-6 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 03/10/2015 Related Publications
Hedgehog (Hh) pathway activation and Gli-dependent transcription play critical roles in embryonic patterning, tissue homeostasis, and tumorigenesis. By conducting a genome-scale cDNA overexpression screen, we have identified the Rho GAP family member Arhgap36 as a positive regulator of the Hh pathway in vitro and in vivo. Arhgap36 acts in a Smoothened (Smo)-independent manner to inhibit Gli repressor formation and to promote the activation of full-length Gli proteins. Arhgap36 concurrently induces the accumulation of Gli proteins in the primary cilium, and its ability to induce Gli-dependent transcription requires kinesin family member 3a and intraflagellar transport protein 88, proteins that are essential for ciliogenesis. Arhgap36 also functionally and biochemically interacts with Suppressor of Fused. Transcriptional profiling further reveals that Arhgap36 is overexpressed in murine medulloblastomas that acquire resistance to chemical Smo inhibitors and that ARHGAP36 isoforms capable of Gli activation are up-regulated in a subset of human medulloblastomas. Our findings reveal a new mechanism of Gli transcription factor activation and implicate ARHGAP36 dysregulation in the onset and/or progression of GLI-dependent cancers.

Xu Q, Liu X, Zheng X, et al.
The transcriptional activity of Gli1 is negatively regulated by AMPK through Hedgehog partial agonism in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Int J Mol Med. 2014; 34(3):733-41 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 03/10/2015 Related Publications
The aberrant activation of the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway has been implicated in a variety of malignancies, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The mammalian 5' adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) plays a crucial role in cellular energy homeostasis. However, the interaction between the Hh and AMPK signaling pathways has not been investigated to date. In the present study, to the best of our knowlege, we report for the first time the negative regulation of glioma-associated oncogene 1 (Gli1), an important downstream effector of Hh, by the AMPK signal transduction pathway. Immunoprecipitation and GST-pull down assay showed a direct interaction between AMPK and Gli1. The overexpression of AMPK induced the downregulation of Gli1 expression, while the knockdown of AMPK upregulated Gli1 expression in a relatively short period of time (24 h or less). Our data suggest that AMPK may function as an upstream molecule that regulates Gli1 expression. Therefore, AMPK may play a role in the Hh signaling pathway, through which it regulates tumorigenesis.

Agyeman A, Jha BK, Mazumdar T, Houghton JA
Mode and specificity of binding of the small molecule GANT61 to GLI determines inhibition of GLI-DNA binding.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(12):4492-503 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 03/10/2015 Related Publications
The GLI genes, GLI1 and GLI2, are transcription factors that regulate target genes at the distal end of the canonical Hedgehog (HH) signaling pathway (SHH->PTCH->SMO->GLI), tightly regulated in embryonic development, tissue patterning and differentiation. Both GLI1 and GLI2 are oncogenes, constitutively activated in many types of human cancers. In colon cancer cells oncogenic KRAS-GLI signaling circumvents the HH-SMO-GLI axis to channel through and activate GLI in the transcriptional regulation of target genes. We have observed extensive cell death in a panel of 7 human colon carcinoma cell lines using the small molecule GLI inhibitor GANT61. Using computational docking and experimental confirmation by Surface Plasmon Resonance, GANT61 binds to the 5-zinc finger GLI1 protein between zinc fingers 2 and 3 at sites E119 and E167, independent of the GLI-DNA binding region, and conserved between GLI1 and GLI2. GANT61 does not bind to other zinc finger transcription factors (KLF4, TFIIβ). Mutating the predicted GANT61 binding sites in GLI1 significantly inhibits GANT61-GLI binding and GLI-luciferase activity. Data establish the specificity of GANT61 for targeting GLI, and substantiate the critical role of GLI in cancer cell survival. Thus, targeting GLI in cancer therapeutics may be of high impact.

Gurgel CA, Buim ME, Carvalho KC, et al.
Transcriptional profiles of SHH pathway genes in keratocystic odontogenic tumor and ameloblastoma.
J Oral Pathol Med. 2014; 43(8):619-26 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Sonic hedgehog (SHH) pathway activation has been identified as a key factor in the development of many types of tumors, including odontogenic tumors. Our study examined the expression of genes in the SHH pathway to characterize their roles in the pathogenesis of keratocystic odontogenic tumors (KOT) and ameloblastomas (AB).
METHODS: We quantified the expression of SHH, SMO, PTCH1, SUFU, GLI1, CCND1, and BCL2 genes by qPCR in a total of 23 KOT, 11 AB, and three non-neoplastic oral mucosa (NNM). We also measured the expression of proteins related to this pathway (CCND1 and BCL2) by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: We observed overexpression of SMO, PTCH1, GLI1, and CCND1 genes in both KOT (23/23) and AB (11/11). However, we did not detect expression of the SHH gene in 21/23 KOT and 10/11 AB tumors. Low levels of the SUFU gene were expressed in KOT (P = 0.0199) and AB (P = 0.0127) relative to the NNM. Recurrent KOT exhibited high levels of SMO (P = 0.035), PTCH1 (P = 0.048), CCND1 (P = 0.048), and BCL2 (P = 0.045) transcripts. Using immunolabeling of CCND1, we observed no statistical difference between primary and recurrent KOT (P = 0.8815), sporadic and NBCCS-KOT (P = 0.7688), and unicystic and solid AB (P = 0.7521).
CONCLUSIONS: Overexpression of upstream (PTCH1 and SMO) and downstream (GLI1, CCND1 and BCL2) genes in the SHH pathway leads to the constitutive activation of this pathway in KOT and AB and may suggest a mechanism for the development of these types of tumors.

Li W, Zhao Y, Tao B, Zhang Y
Effects of quercetin on hedgehog signaling in chronic myeloid leukemia KBM7 cells.
Chin J Integr Med. 2014; 20(10):776-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effects of quercetin on Hedgehog (Hh) signaling in chronic myeloid leukemia KBM7 cells.
METHODS: The KBM7 cells were treated with 50, 100 and 200 μmol/L quercetin for 48 h respectively. And then the trypan blue assay was used to examine the proliferative inhibition of quercetin. Apoptotic cells and cell cycle were measured by flow cytometry. The mRNA and protein expression were detected by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Western blot, respectively.
RESULTS: Quercetin significantly inhibited KBM7 cell proliferation, induced cell apoptosis, and blocked cell cycle at G1 phase, which were in dose-dependent manners. The mRNA and protein expression of Smoothened and Glioma1 (Gli1), the members of Hh pathway decreased after treatment with quercetin. The Bcl-2 and Cyclin D1, targets of Hh signaling, also decreased after treatment with quercetin, respectively. Quercetin also could increase p53 and Caspase-3 expression. Bcr-abl mRNA copies decreased, but no changes of phosphorylated Bcr-abl and Bcr-abl proteins were observed, after treatment with quercetin.
CONCLUSION: Quercetin could inhibit Hh signaling and its downstream targets in the KBM7 cells. And it might be one of mechanisms of inducing apoptosis and inhibiting cell cycle by quercetin.

Further References

Kinzler KW, Bigner SH, Bigner DD, et al.
Identification of an amplified, highly expressed gene in a human glioma.
Science. 1987; 236(4797):70-3 [PubMed] Related Publications
A gene, termed gli, was identified that is amplified more than 50-fold in a malignant glioma. The gene is expressed at high levels in the original tumor and its derived cell line and is located at chromosome 12 position (q13 to q14.3). The gli gene is a member of a select group of cellular genes that are genetically altered in primary human tumors.

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