Gene Summary

Gene:OLIG2; oligodendrocyte transcription factor 2
Aliases: BHLHB1, OLIGO2, RACK17, PRKCBP2, bHLHe19
Summary:This gene encodes a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor which is expressed in oligodendroglial tumors of the brain. The protein is an essential regulator of ventral neuroectodermal progenitor cell fate. The gene is involved in a chromosomal translocation t(14;21)(q11.2;q22) associated with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Its chromosomal location is within a region of chromosome 21 which has been suggested to play a role in learning deficits associated with Down syndrome. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:oligodendrocyte transcription factor 2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 29 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 29 August 2019 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 29 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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

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

Latest Publications: OLIG2 (cancer-related)

Fiscon G, Conte F, Paci P
SWIM tool application to expression data of glioblastoma stem-like cell lines, corresponding primary tumors and conventional glioma cell lines.
BMC Bioinformatics. 2018; 19(Suppl 15):436 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: It is well-known that glioblastoma contains self-renewing, stem-like subpopulation with the ability to sustain tumor growth. These cells - called cancer stem-like cells - share certain phenotypic characteristics with untransformed stem cells and are resistant to many conventional cancer therapies, which might explain the limitations in curing human malignancies. Thus, the identification of genes controlling the differentiation of these stem-like cells is becoming a successful therapeutic strategy, owing to the promise of novel targets for treating malignancies.
METHODS: Recently, we developed SWIM, a software able to unveil a small pool of genes - called switch genes - critically associated with drastic changes in cell phenotype. Here, we applied SWIM to the expression profiling of glioblastoma stem-like cells and conventional glioma cell lines, in order to identify switch genes related to stem-like phenotype.
RESULTS: SWIM identifies 171 switch genes that are all down-regulated in glioblastoma stem-like cells. This list encompasses genes like CAV1, COL5A1, COL6A3, FLNB, HMMR, ITGA3, ITGA5, MET, SDC1, THBS1, and VEGFC, involved in "ECM-receptor interaction" and "focal adhesion" pathways. The inhibition of switch genes highly correlates with the activation of genes related to neural development and differentiation, such as the 4-core OLIG2, POU3F2, SALL2, SOX2, whose induction has been shown to be sufficient to reprogram differentiated glioblastoma into stem-like cells. Among switch genes, the transcription factor FOSL1 appears as the brightest star since: it is down-regulated in stem-like cells; it highly negatively correlates with the 4-core genes that are all up-regulated in stem-like cells; the promoter regions of the 4-core genes harbor a consensus binding motif for FOSL1.
CONCLUSIONS: We suggest that the inhibition of switch genes in stem-like cells could induce the deregulation of cell communication pathways, contributing to neoplastic progression and tumor invasiveness. Conversely, their activation could restore the physiological equilibrium between cell adhesion and migration, hampering the progression of cancer. Moreover, we posit FOSL1 as promising candidate to orchestrate the differentiation of cancer stem-like cells by repressing the 4-core genes' expression, which severely halts cancer growth and might affect the therapeutic outcome. We suggest FOSL1 as novel putative therapeutic and prognostic biomarker, worthy of further investigation.

Vizcaino MA, Palsgrove DN, Yuan M, et al.
Granular cell astrocytoma: an aggressive IDH-wildtype diffuse glioma with molecular genetic features of primary glioblastoma.
Brain Pathol. 2019; 29(2):193-204 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Granular cell astrocytoma (GCA) is a rare adult infiltrating glioma subtype. We studied a series of 39 GCAs. Median age of presentation was 57.8 years and most cases developed in the frontal or temporal lobes. Tumors included grade II (n = 14), grade III (n = 11), and grade IV (n = 14) by WHO criteria. Granular cell morphology was diffuse in 31 (79%) cases and partial in eight (21%). Immunohistochemistry showed frequent positivity for GFAP (28 of 31), OLIG2 (16 of 16), and CD68 (27 of 30), but HAM56, CD163, and IBA-1 histiocytic markers were all negative (22 of 22). IDH1(R132H) was negative in all the cases tested (16 of 16), while ATRX expression was retained (12 of 12). Cytogenetics demonstrated monosomy 10 (6 of 6) cases, +7 in 4 (of 6), -13q in 4 of 6, and -14 in 4 of 6. Next-generation sequencing demonstrated mutations in PTEN/PIK3 genes in 6/13 (46%), NF1 in 3 of 10 (30%), TP53 in 3 of 13 (23%), PALB2 in 3 of 10 (30%), STAG2 in 3 of 10 (30%), EGFR mutation/amplification in 3 of 13 (23%), and AR in 2 of 10 (20%). CDKN2A/B deletion was identified in 5 of 13 (30%) cases (homozygous deletion in 4). The TERT C228T mutation was identified in 9 of 13 (69%). No mutations were encountered in IDH1, IDH2, CIC, FUBP1, H3F3A, BRAF or ATRX genes. The mean overall survival was 11.3 months. Patients >60 years old at diagnosis had a worse survival than patients <60 years (P = 0.001). There were no statistically significant differences in survival by WHO grade, extent of granular cell change, sex or MIB-1 (P > 0.05). GCA is a variant of IDH-wildtype diffuse glioma with aggressive behavior irrespective of grade and extent of granular cell morphology, and with molecular genetic features corresponding to primary glioblastoma.

Alexandrescu S, Paulson V, Dubuc A, et al.
PHOX2B is a reliable immunomarker in distinguishing peripheral neuroblastic tumours from CNS embryonal tumours.
Histopathology. 2018; 73(3):483-491 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: The PHOX2B gene regulates neuronal maturation in the brain stem nuclei associated with cardiorespiratory function and in the autonomic sympathetic and enteric nervous system. PHOX2B expression is a reliable immunomarker for peripheral neuroblastic tumours; however, no systematic evaluation of central nervous system (CNS) embryonal tumours was included in the studies. We encountered two cases in which the differential diagnosis included neuroblastoma and CNS embryonal tumour, and we hypothesised that PHOX2B immunostain would be helpful in establishing the diagnosis.
METHODS AND RESULTS: PHOX2B immunostain was performed on 29 paediatric cases, with adequate controls: one retroperitoneal embryonal tumour in a child with retinoblastoma (index 1), one posterior fossa embryonal tumour in a child with a neuroblastoma (index 2), seven medulloblastomas, four atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumours (ATRT), four retinoblastomas, six pineoblastomas, four embryonal tumours with multilayered rosettes (ETMR) and two CNS embryonal tumours, not elsewhere classified. Cell lineage immunomarkers (GFAP, OLIG2, synaptophysin, NeuN, CRX, PGP 9.5), immunosurrogates for molecular alterations (beta-catenin, INI1, Lin-28), array CGH and OncoPanel were performed as needed. Medulloblastomas, ATRTs, ETMRs, retinoblastomas and CNS embryonal tumours not elsewhere classified were essentially negative for PHOX2B. Two of six pineoblastomas had significant PHOX2B expression, while the rest were negative. Index 1 was negative for PHOX2B and PGP 9.5 and positive for CRX, consistent with retinoblastoma. Index 2 had diffuse PHOX2B expression, MYCN amplification and no copy number changes of medulloblastoma, in keeping with neuroblastoma.
CONCLUSION: PHOX2B antibody is helpful in distinguishing between peripheral neuroblastic and CNS embryonal tumours, which are immunonegative, with the caveat that a subset of pineoblastomas has significant expression.

Griveau A, Seano G, Shelton SJ, et al.
A Glial Signature and Wnt7 Signaling Regulate Glioma-Vascular Interactions and Tumor Microenvironment.
Cancer Cell. 2018; 33(5):874-889.e7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Gliomas comprise heterogeneous malignant glial and stromal cells. While blood vessel co-option is a potential mechanism to escape anti-angiogenic therapy, the relevance of glial phenotype in this process is unclear. We show that Olig2

Dewari PS, Southgate B, Mccarten K, et al.
An efficient and scalable pipeline for epitope tagging in mammalian stem cells using Cas9 ribonucleoprotein.
Elife. 2018; 7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
CRISPR/Cas9 can be used for precise genetic knock-in of epitope tags into endogenous genes, simplifying experimental analysis of protein function. However, Cas9-assisted epitope tagging in primary mammalian cell cultures is often inefficient and reliant on plasmid-based selection strategies. Here, we demonstrate improved knock-in efficiencies of diverse tags (V5, 3XFLAG, Myc, HA) using co-delivery of Cas9 protein pre-complexed with two-part synthetic modified RNAs (annealed crRNA:tracrRNA) and single-stranded oligodeoxynucleotide (ssODN) repair templates. Knock-in efficiencies of ~5-30%, were achieved without selection in embryonic stem (ES) cells, neural stem (NS) cells, and brain-tumor-derived stem cells. Biallelic-tagged clonal lines were readily derived and used to define Olig2 chromatin-bound interacting partners. Using our novel web-based design tool, we established a 96-well format pipeline that enabled V5-tagging of 60 different transcription factors. This efficient, selection-free and scalable epitope tagging pipeline enables systematic surveys of protein expression levels, subcellular localization, and interactors across diverse mammalian stem cells.

Yoshida Y, Nobusawa S, Nakata S, et al.
CNS high-grade neuroepithelial tumor with BCOR internal tandem duplication: a comparison with its counterparts in the kidney and soft tissue.
Brain Pathol. 2018; 28(5):710-720 [PubMed] Related Publications
Central nervous system high-grade neuroepithelial tumors with BCOR alteration (CNS HGNET-BCOR) are a recently reported rare entity, identified as a small fraction of tumors previously institutionally diagnosed as so-called CNS primitive neuroectodermal tumors. Their genetic characteristic is a somatic internal tandem duplication in the 3' end of BCOR (BCOR ITD), which has also been found in clear cell sarcomas of the kidney (CCSK) and soft tissue undifferentiated round cell sarcomas/primitive myxoid mesenchymal tumors of infancy (URCS/PMMTI), and these BCOR ITD-positive tumors have been reported to share similar pathological features. In this study, we performed a clinicopathological and molecular analysis of six cases of CNS HGNET-BCOR, and compared them with their counterparts in the kidney and soft tissue. Although these tumors had histologically similar structural patterns and characteristic monotonous nuclei with fine chromatin, CNS HGNET-BCOR exhibited glial cell morphology, ependymoma-like perivascular pseudorosettes and palisading necrosis, whereas these features were not evident in CCSK or URCS/PMMTI. Immunohistochemically, diffuse staining of Olig2 with a mixture of varying degrees of intensity, and only focal staining of GFAP, S-100 protein and synaptophysin were observed in CNS HGNET-BCOR, whereas these common neuroepithelial markers were negative in CCSK and URCS/PMMTI. Therefore, although CNS HGNET-BCOR, CCSK and URCS/PMMTI may constitute a group of BCOR ITD-positive tumors, only CNS HGNET-BCOR has histological features suggestive of glial differentiation. In conclusion, we think CNS HGNET-BCOR are a certain type of neuroepithelial tumor relatively close to glioma, not CCSK or URCS/PMMTI occurring in the CNS.

Bogeas A, Morvan-Dubois G, El-Habr EA, et al.
Changes in chromatin state reveal ARNT2 at a node of a tumorigenic transcription factor signature driving glioblastoma cell aggressiveness.
Acta Neuropathol. 2018; 135(2):267-283 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Although a growing body of evidence indicates that phenotypic plasticity exhibited by glioblastoma cells plays a central role in tumor development and post-therapy recurrence, the master drivers of their aggressiveness remain elusive. Here we mapped the changes in active (H3K4me3) and repressive (H3K27me3) histone modifications accompanying the repression of glioblastoma stem-like cells tumorigenicity. Genes with changing histone marks delineated a network of transcription factors related to cancerous behavior, stem state, and neural development, highlighting a previously unsuspected association between repression of ARNT2 and loss of cell tumorigenicity. Immunohistochemistry confirmed ARNT2 expression in cell sub-populations within proliferative zones of patients' glioblastoma. Decreased ARNT2 expression was consistently observed in non-tumorigenic glioblastoma cells, compared to tumorigenic cells. Moreover, ARNT2 expression correlated with a tumorigenic molecular signature at both the tissue level within the tumor core and at the single cell level in the patients' tumors. We found that ARNT2 knockdown decreased the expression of SOX9, POU3F2 and OLIG2, transcription factors implicated in glioblastoma cell tumorigenicity, and repressed glioblastoma stem-like cell tumorigenic properties in vivo. Our results reveal ARNT2 as a pivotal component of the glioblastoma cell tumorigenic signature, located at a node of a transcription factor network controlling glioblastoma cell aggressiveness.

Helgager J, Lidov HG, Mahadevan NR, et al.
A novel GIT2-BRAF fusion in pilocytic astrocytoma.
Diagn Pathol. 2017; 12(1):82 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: KIAA1549-BRAF fusion is the most common genetic event in pilocytic astrocytoma (PA), and leads to activation of the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway. Fusions of BRAF with other partner genes, as well as other genetic alterations not involving BRAF but also leading to MAPK pathway activation have been described rarely.
CASE PRESENTATION: We present a new fusion partner in the low-grade glioma of a 10-year-old male, who presented with headaches and recent episodes of seizures. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated a right temporal lobe tumor. Histological and immunohistochemical evaluation, and a next generation sequencing assay (Oncopanel, Illumina, 500 genes) including breaKmer analysis for chromosomal rearrangements were performed. Histology was remarkable for a low-grade glioma composed of mildly atypical astrocytes with piloid processes, in a focally microcystic background. Mitoses were not seen; unequivocal Rosenthal fibers or eosinophilic granular bodies were absent. The tumor was positive for OLIG2 and GFAP and negative for BRAF V600E and IDH1 R132H mutant protein immunostains. Oncopanel showed low SOX2 (3q26.33) copy number gain, and no gains at 7q34. There were no significant single nucleotide variants. BreaKmer detected a GIT2-BRAF fusion with loss of BRAF exons 1-8. The integrated diagnosis was low-grade glioma with piloid features, most consistent with pilocytic astrocytoma, WHO grade I.
CONCLUSION: GIT2-BRAF fusion has not been reported in the literature in any tumor. Given that the BRAF sequence deleted is identical to that seen in other fusion events in PA, it most likely acts as tumor driver by activation of the MAPK pathway.

Gonzalez-Quarante LH, Ruiz-Juretschke F, Sola Vendrell E, et al.
Multinodular and vacuolating neuronal tumor of the cerebrum. A rare entity. New case and review of the literature.
Neurocirugia (Astur). 2018 Jan - Feb; 29(1):44-55 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Multinodular and vacuolating neuronal tumor has been recently described and included in the World Health Organization Classification of Tumors of The Central Nervous System, even though its consideration as a true tumor is controversial. Patients with these lesions usually present with refractory seizures and inconclusive imaging findings that may be confused with other more common diagnoses such as dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumors or low-grade gliomas. Therefore, surgical resection is warranted to reach a pathologic diagnosis and seizure control. To the best of our knowledge, only 16 cases have been published in the English literature.
CASE DESCRIPTION: We present the case of a 52-year-old male who presented at our institution with a 2-year-history of absence of seizures. Brain MRI showed a T2-hyperintense lesion with no contrast enhancement affecting his temporal lobe. Temporal craniotomy and microsurgical resection was scheduled. The procedure was uneventful and a grayish, gluey mass was sent for pathologic analysis. The tumor was formed by immature neuronal cells organized in nodules with a vacuolated matrix. A thorough immunohistochemical analysis showed positivity for: Protein Gene Product 9.5. ATRX. OLIG2. SOX10. p16. Nestin. Synaptophysin. The findings were consistent with multinodular and vacuolating neuronal tumor. The patient has been seizure-free after surgery and with no signs of tumor progression.
CONCLUSION: We present a thorough review addressing this uncommon tumor along with a description of the 17th reported case of MVNT, a tumor that was described for the first time in 2013. Further studies and case studies are necessary to establish a well-defined morphological and immunohistochemical profile along with knowledge about its natural history.

Pathania M, De Jay N, Maestro N, et al.
Cancer Cell. 2017; 32(5):684-700.e9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Gain-of-function mutations in histone 3 (H3) variants are found in a substantial proportion of pediatric high-grade gliomas (pHGG), often in association with TP53 loss and platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRA) amplification. Here, we describe a somatic mouse model wherein H3.3

Wang F, Wang AY, Chesnelong C, et al.
ING5 activity in self-renewal of glioblastoma stem cells via calcium and follicle stimulating hormone pathways.
Oncogene. 2018; 37(3):286-301 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Stem cell-like brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs) cause recurrence of glioblastomas, with BTIC 'stemness' affected by epigenetic mechanisms. The ING family of epigenetic regulators (ING1-5) function by targeting histone acetyltransferase (HAT) or histone deacetylase complexes to the H3K4me3 mark to alter histone acetylation and subsequently, gene expression. Here we find that ectopic expression of ING5, the targeting subunit of HBO1, MOZ and MORF HAT complexes increases expression of the Oct4, Olig2 and Nestin stem cell markers, promotes self-renewal, prevents lineage differentiation and increases stem cell pools in BTIC populations. This activity requires the plant homeodomain region of ING5 that interacts specifically with the H3K4me3 mark. ING5 also enhances PI3K/AKT and MEK/ERK activity to sustain self-renewal of BTICs over serial passage of stem cell-like spheres. ING5 exerts these effects by activating transcription of calcium channel and follicle stimulating hormone pathway genes. In silico analyses of The Cancer Genome Atlas data suggest that ING5 is a positive regulator of BTIC stemness, whose expression negatively correlates with patient prognosis, especially in the Proneural and Classical subtypes, and in tumors with low SOX2 expression. These data suggest that altering histone acetylation status and signaling pathways induced by ING5 may provide useful clinical strategies to target tumor resistance and recurrence in glioblastoma.

Gao Y, Feng YY, Yu JH, et al.
Diffuse midline gliomas with histone H3-K27M mutation: A rare case with PNET-like appearance and neuropil-like islands.
Neuropathology. 2018; 38(2):165-170 [PubMed] Related Publications
Diffuse midline glioma with histone H3-K27M mutation is a new tumor entity defined by the 2016 WHO Classification of Tumors of the Central Nervous System. A 51-year-old Chinese woman presented with neck pain for a month. Subsequent MRI revealed an intramedullary neoplasm extending from C5 to C7. Histologically, the cellular area of the tumor was composed of primitive, poorly differentiated, small cells with scant cytoplasm, nuclear molding, and brisk mitotic activity, exhibiting PNET-like appearance, while in the hypocellular area, oligodendroglioma-like cells were observed. More importantly, neuropil-like islands were observed in the cellular area. Microvascular proliferation was noted, with no necrosis. Besides histone H3K27M mutation, immunohistochemical staining also showed that the tumor cells were positive for oligodendrocyte lineage transcription factor 2 and ATRX. The neuropil-like areas were positive for synaptophysin, intermingled with scattered neuronal nuclear antigen positive cells. The Ki-67 proliferation index was about 30%, and tumor cells were highly immunopositive for p53. Sequencing for IDH1 codon 132 and IDH2 codon 172 gene mutations showed negative results. Furthermore, fluorescent analysis revealed 1p deletion in the lesion but no 19q deletion. Based on these findings, the tumor was diagnosed as diffuse midline gliomas with histone H3-K27M mutation in the spinal cord, corresponding to WHO grade IV. After 4 months of remission, the tumor recurred; 2 months later, the patient died. Herein, we report an extremely rare case of diffuse midline glioma with histone H3K27M mutation, which was morphologically characterized simultaneously by primitive neuroectodermal tumor-like appearance and neuropil-like islands.

Thom M, Liu J, Bongaarts A, et al.
Multinodular and vacuolating neuronal tumors in epilepsy: dysplasia or neoplasia?
Brain Pathol. 2018; 28(2):155-171 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Multinodular and vacuolating neuronal tumor (MVNT) is a new pattern of neuronal tumour included in the recently revised WHO 2016 classification of tumors of the CNS. There are 15 reports in the literature to date. They are typically associated with late onset epilepsy and a neoplastic vs. malformative biology has been questioned. We present a series of ten cases and compare their pathological and genetic features to better characterized epilepsy-associated malformations including focal cortical dysplasia type II (FCDII) and low-grade epilepsy-associated tumors (LEAT). Clinical and neuroradiology data were reviewed and a broad immunohistochemistry panel was applied to explore neuronal and glial differentiation, interneuronal populations, mTOR pathway activation and neurodegenerative changes. Next generation sequencing was performed for targeted multi-gene analysis to identify mutations common to epilepsy lesions including FCDII and LEAT. All of the surgical cases in this series presented with seizures, and were located in the temporal lobe. There was a lack of any progressive changes on serial pre-operative MRI and a mean age at surgery of 45 years. The vacuolated cells of the lesion expressed mature neuronal markers (neurofilament/SMI32, MAP2, synaptophysin). Prominent labelling of the lesional cells for developmentally regulated proteins (OTX1, TBR1, SOX2, MAP1b, CD34, GFAPδ) and oligodendroglial lineage markers (OLIG2, SMI94) was observed. No mutations were detected in the mTOR pathway genes, BRAF, FGFR1 or MYB. Clinical, pathological and genetic data could indicate that MVNT aligns more with a malformative lesion than a true neoplasm with origin from a progenitor neuro-glial cell type showing aberrant maturation.

Kosty J, Lu F, Kupp R, et al.
Harnessing OLIG2 function in tumorigenicity and plasticity to target malignant gliomas.
Cell Cycle. 2017; 16(18):1654-1660 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most prevalent and malignant brain tumor, displaying notorious resistance to conventional therapy, partially due to molecular and genetic heterogeneity. Understanding the mechanisms for gliomagenesis, tumor stem/progenitor cell propagation and phenotypic diversity is critical for devising effective and targeted therapy for this lethal disease. The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor OLIG2, which is universally expressed in gliomas, has emerged as an important player in GBM cell reprogramming, genotoxic resistance, and tumor phenotype plasticity. In an animal model of proneural GBM, elimination of mitotic OLIG2

Kalluri HSG, Kuo JS, Dempsey RJ
Chronic D609 treatment interferes with cell cycle and targets the expression of Olig2 in Glioma Stem like Cells.
Eur J Pharmacol. 2017; 814:81-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioma Stem-like Cells (GSCs) isolated from patient derived tumors have high metabolic activity and survive in the absence of exogenous growth factors. We recently demonstrated that acute D609 (Tricyclodecan-9-yl-xanthogenate), a PC-PLC inhibitor with anti-oxidative property, can decrease the ATP content & GADD45β protein in GSCs cultured without growth factors, but not in the presence of growth factors. In this study we examined the effect of chronic D609 treatment on GSCs cultured in complete medium containing growth factors. Our results show that chronic exposure of GSCs to D609 decreased the ATP content and reduced the expression of GADD45β protein. Furthermore, cyclin D1 content and the phosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein also diminished, resulting in the arrest of cells in G1 phase of cell cycle after D609 treatment. In addition, the expression of Olig2, a protein responsible for the progression of glioblastoma was reduced by D609. Together these results indicate that chronic D609 treatment can inhibit the growth of glioma cells by arresting cells in G1 phase of cell cycle and/or reducing Olig2 expression.

Yalcin A, Kovarbasic M, Wehrle J, et al.
The oligodendrocyte lineage transcription factor 2 (OLIG2) is epigenetically regulated in acute myeloid leukemia.
Exp Hematol. 2017; 55:76-85.e3 [PubMed] Related Publications
DNA methylation differences between normal tissue and cancerous tissue resulting in differential expression of genes are a hallmark of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and can provide malignant cells with a growth advantage via silencing of specific genes, for example, transcription factors. Oligodendrocyte lineage transcription factor 2 (OLIG2) was reported to be differentially methylated and associated with prognosis in AML and, as reported for acute lymphoblastic leukemia and malignant glioma, may play a role in malignant transformation. We report that DNA methylation of OLIG2 is associated with decreased expression of mRNA in AML cell lines and patients. Moreover, in cell lines, decreased mRNA expression also translated into decreased OLIG2 protein expression. Treatment of non-expressing cell lines PL-21 and U-937 with the demethylating agent decitabine resulted in robust re-expression of OLIG2 on mRNA and protein levels. Furthermore, stable overexpression of OLIG2 in non-expressing cell lines Kasumi-1 and U-937, using a lentiviral vector system, led to moderate growth inhibition after 4 days and resulted in signs of differentiation in U-937 cells. Interestingly, although CD34 + cells from healthy donors and 10 of 12 AML patients exhibited no protein expression, OLIG2 was expressed in two patients, both bearing the translocation t(15;17), corresponding to OLIG2 expression in NB-4 cells, also harboring t(15;17). In conclusion, we provide first evidence that OLIG2 is epigenetically regulated via DNA methylation and expressed in a subset of AML patients. OLIG2 may exert antiproliferative activity in leukemia cell lines, and its potential leukemia-suppressing role in AML warrants further investigation.

Yu D, Khan OF, Suvà ML, et al.
Multiplexed RNAi therapy against brain tumor-initiating cells via lipopolymeric nanoparticle infusion delays glioblastoma progression.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017; 114(30):E6147-E6156 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Brain tumor-initiating cells (BTICs) have been identified as key contributors to therapy resistance, recurrence, and progression of diffuse gliomas, particularly glioblastoma (GBM). BTICs are elusive therapeutic targets that reside across the blood-brain barrier, underscoring the urgent need to develop novel therapeutic strategies. Additionally, intratumoral heterogeneity and adaptations to therapeutic pressure by BTICs impede the discovery of effective anti-BTIC therapies and limit the efficacy of individual gene targeting. Recent discoveries in the genetic and epigenetic determinants of BTIC tumorigenesis offer novel opportunities for RNAi-mediated targeting of BTICs. Here we show that BTIC growth arrest in vitro and in vivo is accomplished via concurrent siRNA knockdown of four transcription factors (SOX2, OLIG2, SALL2, and POU3F2) that drive the proneural BTIC phenotype delivered by multiplexed siRNA encapsulation in the lipopolymeric nanoparticle 7C1. Importantly, we demonstrate that 7C1 nano-encapsulation of multiplexed RNAi is a viable BTIC-targeting strategy when delivered directly in vivo in an established mouse brain tumor. Therapeutic potential was most evident via a convection-enhanced delivery method, which shows significant extension of median survival in two patient-derived BTIC xenograft mouse models of GBM. Our study suggests that there is potential advantage in multiplexed targeting strategies for BTICs and establishes a flexible nonviral gene therapy platform with the capacity to channel multiplexed RNAi schemes to address the challenges posed by tumor heterogeneity.

Hassani Z, Saleh A, Turpault S, et al.
Phostine PST3.1a Targets MGAT5 and Inhibits Glioblastoma-Initiating Cell Invasiveness and Proliferation.
Mol Cancer Res. 2017; 15(10):1376-1387 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common primary malignant brain tumor and accounts for a significant proportion of all primary brain tumors. Median survival after treatment is around 15 months. Remodeling of N-glycans by the N-acetylglucosamine glycosyltransferase (MGAT5) regulates tumoral development. Here, perturbation of MGAT5 enzymatic activity by the small-molecule inhibitor 3-hydroxy-4,5-bis-benzyloxy-6-benzyloxymethyl-2-phenyl2-oxo-2λ5-[1,2]oxaphosphinane (PST3.1a) restrains GBM growth. In cell-based assays, it is demonstrated that PST3.1a alters the β1,6-GlcNAc N-glycans of GBM-initiating cells (GIC) by inhibiting MGAT5 enzymatic activity, resulting in the inhibition of TGFβR and FAK signaling associated with doublecortin (DCX) upregulation and increase oligodendrocyte lineage transcription factor 2 (OLIG2) expression. PST3.1a thus affects microtubule and microfilament integrity of GBM stem cells, leading to the inhibition of GIC proliferation, migration, invasiveness, and clonogenic capacities. Orthotopic graft models of GIC revealed that PST3.1a treatment leads to a drastic reduction of invasive and proliferative capacity and to an increase in overall survival relative to standard temozolomide therapy. Finally, bioinformatics analyses exposed that PST3.1a cytotoxic activity is positively correlated with the expression of genes of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), while the expression of mitochondrial genes correlated negatively with cell sensitivity to the compound. These data demonstrate the relevance of targeting MGAT5, with a novel anti-invasive chemotherapy, to limit glioblastoma stem cell invasion.

Solga AC, Toonen JA, Pan Y, et al.
The cell of origin dictates the temporal course of neurofibromatosis-1 (Nf1) low-grade glioma formation.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(29):47206-47215 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Low-grade gliomas are one of the most common brain tumors in children, where they frequently form within the optic pathway (optic pathway gliomas; OPGs). Since many OPGs occur in the context of the Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) cancer predisposition syndrome, we have previously employed Nf1 genetically-engineered mouse (GEM) strains to study the pathogenesis of these low-grade glial neoplasms. In the light of the finding that human and mouse low-grade gliomas are composed of Olig2+ cells and that Olig2+ oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) give rise to murine high-grade gliomas, we sought to determine whether Olig2+ OPCs could be tumor-initiating cells for Nf1 optic glioma. Similar to the GFAP-Cre transgenic strain previously employed to generate Nf1 optic gliomas, Olig2+ cells also give rise to astrocytes in the murine optic nerve in vivo. However, in contrast to the GFAP-Cre strain where somatic Nf1 inactivation in embryonic neural progenitor/stem cells (Nf1flox/mut; GFAP-Cre mice) results in optic gliomas by 3 months of age in vivo, mice with Nf1 gene inactivation in Olig2+ OPCs (Nf1flox/mut; Olig2-Cre mice) do not form optic gliomas until 6 months of age. These distinct patterns of glioma latency do not reflect differences in the timing or brain location of somatic Nf1 loss. Instead, they most likely reflect the cell of origin, as somatic Nf1 loss in CD133+ neural progenitor/stem cells during late embryogenesis results in optic gliomas at 3 months of age. Collectively, these data demonstrate that the cell of origin dictates the time to tumorigenesis in murine optic glioma.

Anderson JL, Muraleedharan R, Oatman N, et al.
The transcription factor Olig2 is important for the biology of diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas.
Neuro Oncol. 2017; 19(8):1068-1078 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Background: Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a high-grade brainstem glioma of children with dismal prognosis. There is no single unifying model about the cell of origin of DIPGs. Proliferating cells in the developing human and mouse pons, the site of DIPGs, express neural stem/progenitor cell (NPC) markers, including Sox2, nestin, vimentin, Olig2, and glial fibrillary acidic protein, in an overlapping and non-overlapping manner, suggesting progenitor cell heterogeneity in the pons. It is thought that during a restricted window of postnatal pons development, a differentiation block caused by genetic/epigenetic changes leads to unrestrained progenitor proliferation and DIPG development. Nearly 80% of DIPGs harbor a mutation in the H3F3A or the related HIST1H3B gene. Supporting the impaired differentiation model, NPCs derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells expressing the H3F3A mutation showed complete differentiation block. However, the mechanisms regulating an altered differentiation program in DIPG are unknown.
Methods: We established syngeneic serum-dependent and independent primary DIPG lines, performed molecular characterization of DIPG lines in vitro and in an orthotopic xenograft model, and used small hairpin RNA to examine Olig2 function in DIPG.
Results: The transcription factor Olig2 is highly expressed in 70%-80% of DIPGs. Here we report that Olig2 expression and DIPG differentiation are mutually exclusive events in vitro, and only DIPG cells that retained Olig2 in vitro formed robust Olig2-positive brainstem glioma with 100% penetrance in a xenograft model.
Conclusion: Our results indicate Olig2 as an onco-requisite factor in DIPG and propose investigation of Olig2 target genes as novel candidates in DIPG therapy.

Siegfried A, Cances C, Denuelle M, et al.
Noonan syndrome, PTPN11 mutations, and brain tumors. A clinical report and review of the literature.
Am J Med Genet A. 2017; 173(4):1061-1065 [PubMed] Related Publications
Noonan syndrome (NS), an autosomal dominant disorder, is characterized by short stature, congenital heart defects, developmental delay, and facial dysmorphism. PTPN11 mutations are the most common cause of NS. PTPN11 encodes a non-receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase, SHP2. Hematopoietic malignancies and solid tumors are associated with NS. Among solid tumors, brain tumors have been described in children and young adults but remain rather rare. We report a 16-year-old boy with PTPN11-related NS who, at the age of 12, was incidentally found to have a left temporal lobe brain tumor and a cystic lesion in the right thalamus. He developed epilepsy 2 years later. The temporal tumor was surgically resected because of increasing crises and worsening radiological signs. Microscopy showed nodules with specific glioneuronal elements or glial nodules, leading to the diagnosis of dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNT). Immunohistochemistry revealed positive nuclear staining with Olig2 and pERK in small cells. SHP2 plays a key role in RAS/MAPK pathway signaling which controls several developmental cell processes and oncogenesis. An amino-acid substitution in the N-terminal SHP2 domain disrupts the self-locking conformation and leads to ERK activation. Glioneuronal tumors including DNTs and pilocytic astrocytomas have been described in NS. This report provides further support for the relation of DNTs with RASopathies and for the implication of RAS/MAPK pathways in sporadic low-grade glial tumors including DNTs. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Pirozzi CJ, Carpenter AB, Waitkus MS, et al.
Mutant IDH1 Disrupts the Mouse Subventricular Zone and Alters Brain Tumor Progression.
Mol Cancer Res. 2017; 15(5):507-520 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications

Singh DK, Kollipara RK, Vemireddy V, et al.
Oncogenes Activate an Autonomous Transcriptional Regulatory Circuit That Drives Glioblastoma.
Cell Rep. 2017; 18(4):961-976 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Efforts to identify and target glioblastoma (GBM) drivers have primarily focused on receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). Clinical benefits, however, have been elusive. Here, we identify an SRY-related box 2 (SOX2) transcriptional regulatory network that is independent of upstream RTKs and capable of driving glioma-initiating cells. We identified oligodendrocyte lineage transcription factor 2 (OLIG2) and zinc-finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1), which are frequently co-expressed irrespective of driver mutations, as potential SOX2 targets. In murine glioma models, we show that different combinations of tumor suppressor and oncogene mutations can activate Sox2, Olig2, and Zeb1 expression. We demonstrate that ectopic co-expression of the three transcription factors can transform tumor-suppressor-deficient astrocytes into glioma-initiating cells in the absence of an upstream RTK oncogene. Finally, we demonstrate that the transcriptional inhibitor mithramycin downregulates SOX2 and its target genes, resulting in markedly reduced proliferation of GBM cells in vivo.

Bressan RB, Dewari PS, Kalantzaki M, et al.
Efficient CRISPR/Cas9-assisted gene targeting enables rapid and precise genetic manipulation of mammalian neural stem cells.
Development. 2017; 144(4):635-648 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Mammalian neural stem cell (NSC) lines provide a tractable model for discovery across stem cell and developmental biology, regenerative medicine and neuroscience. They can be derived from foetal or adult germinal tissues and continuously propagated

Pinel B, Duchesne M, Godet J, et al.
Mesenchymal subtype of glioblastomas with high DNA-PKcs expression is associated with better response to radiotherapy and temozolomide.
J Neurooncol. 2017; 132(2):287-294 [PubMed] Related Publications
A better understanding of the relationship between glioblastomas molecular subtypes and radio-chemotherapy is needed for the development of individualized strategies. In this study, we aimed to assess whether non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) protein expression is associated and could predict responses to treatment of mesenchymal (MES) and proneural (PN) subtypes. Tumors from 122 patients with a glioblastoma treated at the University Hospital of Poitiers between 2002-2013 by an association of radiotherapy and temozolomide were collected. Among these tumors, 80 were suitable for in situ analysis and were included in TissueMicroArray. The expression of DNA-PKcs, Ku70, Ku80 and CD44, Olig2 (respectively surrogate markers of MES and PN subtypes) were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. The median survival of patients with high and low CD44 expression was 11.9 months (95% CI 7.7-14) and 19.1 months (95% CI 15.2-22.4) respectively (p = 0.008). Median survival of patients with high and low DNA-PKcs levels was 20.0 months (95% CI 15.2-25.3) and 12.9 months (95% CI 9.9-19.5) respectively (p = 0.036). High levels of Olig2, Ku70 and Ku80 tended to be associated with better overall survival but no significant differences were found. Overall survival of class I patients (CD44+ and DNA-PKcs+) was longer than class II (CD44+ and DNA-PKcs- or CD44- and DNA-PKcs+) and class III (CD44- and DNA-PKcs-), (p = 0.005 and 0.003 respectively). High levels of CD44 and DNA-PK are associated with a better survival and better response to radiotherapy and temozolomide and could establish prognosis classes by predicting survival and response to therapy for GBMs patients.

Galardi S, Savino M, Scagnoli F, et al.
Resetting cancer stem cell regulatory nodes upon MYC inhibition.
EMBO Rep. 2016; 17(12):1872-1889 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
MYC deregulation is common in human cancer and has a role in sustaining the aggressive cancer stem cell populations. MYC mediates a broad transcriptional response controlling normal biological programmes, but its activity is not clearly understood. We address MYC function in cancer stem cells through the inducible expression of Omomyc-a MYC-derived polypeptide interfering with MYC activity-taking as model the most lethal brain tumour, glioblastoma. Omomyc bridles the key cancer stemlike cell features and affects the tumour microenvironment, inhibiting angiogenesis. This occurs because Omomyc interferes with proper MYC localization and itself associates with the genome, with a preference for sites occupied by MYC This is accompanied by selective repression of master transcription factors for glioblastoma stemlike cell identity such as OLIG2, POU3F2, SOX2, upregulation of effectors of tumour suppression and differentiation such as ID4, MIAT, PTEN, and modulation of the expression of microRNAs that target molecules implicated in glioblastoma growth and invasion such as EGFR and ZEB1. Data support a novel view of MYC as a network stabilizer that strengthens the regulatory nodes of gene expression networks controlling cell phenotype and highlight Omomyc as model molecule for targeting cancer stem cells.

Tsigelny IF, Kouznetsova VL, Lian N, Kesari S
Molecular mechanisms of OLIG2 transcription factor in brain cancer.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(33):53074-53101 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Oligodendrocyte lineage transcription factor 2 (OLIG2) plays a pivotal role in glioma development. Here we conducted a comprehensive study of the critical gene regulatory networks involving OLIG2. These include the networks responsible for OLIG2 expression, its translocation to nucleus, cell cycle, epigenetic regulation, and Rho-pathway interactions. We described positive feedback loops including OLIG2: loops of epigenetic regulation and loops involving receptor tyrosine kinases. These loops may be responsible for the prolonged oncogenic activity of OLIG2. The proposed schemes for epigenetic regulation of the gene networks involving OLIG2 are confirmed by patient survival (Kaplan-Meier) curves based on the cancer genome atlas (TCGA) datasets. Finally, we elucidate the Coherent-Gene Modules (CGMs) networks-framework of OLIG2 involvement in cancer. We showed that genes interacting with OLIG2 formed eight CGMs having a set of intermodular connections. We showed also that among the genes involved in these modules the most connected hub is EGFR, then, on lower level, HSP90 and CALM1, followed by three lower levels including epigenetic genes KDM1A and NCOR1. The genes on the six upper levels of the hierarchy are involved in interconnections of all eight CGMs and organize functionally defined gene-signaling subnetworks having specific functions. For example, CGM1 is involved in epigenetic control. CGM2 is significantly related to cell proliferation and differentiation. CGM3 includes a number of interconnected helix-loop-helix transcription factors (bHLH) including OLIG2. Many of these TFs are partially controlled by OLIG2. The CGM4 is involved in PDGF-related: angiogenesis, tumor cell proliferation and differentiation. These analyses provide testable hypotheses and approaches to inhibit OLIG2 pathway and relevant feed-forward and feedback loops to be interrogated. This broad approach can be applied to other TFs.

Singh SK, Fiorelli R, Kupp R, et al.
Post-translational Modifications of OLIG2 Regulate Glioma Invasion through the TGF-β Pathway.
Cell Rep. 2016; 16(4):950-966 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
In glioblastoma, invasion and proliferation are presumed to be mutually exclusive events; however, the molecular mechanisms that mediate this switch at the cellular level remain elusive. Previously, we have shown that phospho-OLIG2, a central-nervous-system-specific transcription factor, is essential for tumor growth and proliferation. Here, we show that the modulation of OLIG2 phosphorylation can trigger a switch between proliferation and invasion. Glioma cells with unphosphorylated OLIG2(S10, S13, S14) are highly migratory and invasive, both in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, unphosphorylated OLIG2 induces TGF-β2 expression and promotes invasive mesenchymal properties in glioma cells. Inhibition of the TGF-β2 pathway blocks this OLIG2-dependent invasion. Furthermore, ectopic expression of phosphomimetic Olig2 is sufficient to block TGF-β2-mediated invasion and reduce expression of invasion genes (ZEB1 and CD44). Our results not only provide a mechanistic insight into how cells switch from proliferation to invasion but also offer therapeutic opportunities for inhibiting dissemination of gliomas.

Lee JY, Park K, Lee E, et al.
Gene Expression Profiling of Breast Cancer Brain Metastasis.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:28623 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
The biology of breast cancer brain metastasis (BCBM) is poorly understood. We aimed to explore genes that are implicated in the process of brain metastasis of primary breast cancer (BC). NanoString nCounter Analysis covering 252 target genes was used for comparison of gene expression levels between 20 primary BCs that relapsed to brain and 41 BCBM samples. PAM50-based intrinsic subtypes such as HER2-enriched and basal-like were clearly over-represented in BCBM. A panel of 22 genes was found to be significantly differentially expressed between primary BC and BCBM. Five of these genes, CXCL12, MMP2, MMP11, VCAM1, and MME, which have previously been associated with tumor progression, angiogenesis, and metastasis, clearly discriminated between primary BC and BCBM. Notably, the five genes were significantly upregulated in primary BC compared to BCBM. Conversely, SOX2 and OLIG2 genes were upregulated in BCBM. These genes may participate in metastatic colonization but not in primary tumor development. Among patient-matched paired samples (n = 17), a PAM50 molecular subtype conversion was observed in eight cases (47.1%), with a trend toward unfavorable subtypes in patients with the distinct gene expression. Our findings, although not conclusive, reveal differentially expressed genes that might mediate the brain metastasis process.

Lu F, Chen Y, Zhao C, et al.
Olig2-Dependent Reciprocal Shift in PDGF and EGF Receptor Signaling Regulates Tumor Phenotype and Mitotic Growth in Malignant Glioma.
Cancer Cell. 2016; 29(5):669-683 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Malignant gliomas exhibit extensive heterogeneity and poor prognosis. Here we identify mitotic Olig2-expressing cells as tumor-propagating cells in proneural gliomas, elimination of which blocks tumor initiation and progression. Intriguingly, deletion of Olig2 resulted in tumors that grow, albeit at a decelerated rate. Genome occupancy and expression profiling analyses reveal that Olig2 directly activates cell-proliferation machinery to promote tumorigenesis. Olig2 deletion causes a tumor phenotypic shift from an oligodendrocyte precursor-correlated proneural toward an astroglia-associated gene expression pattern, manifest in downregulation of platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α and reciprocal upregulation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Olig2 deletion further sensitizes glioma cells to EGFR inhibitors and extends the lifespan of animals. Thus, Olig2-orchestrated receptor signaling drives mitotic growth and regulates glioma phenotypic plasticity. Targeting Olig2 may circumvent resistance to EGFR-targeted drugs.

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