Receptor-driven invasion profiles in diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma

Anju Karki, Noah E. Berlow, Jin Ah Kim, Esther Hulleman, Qianqian Liu, Joel E. Michalek, Charles Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background:Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a devastating pediatric cancer with unmet clinical need. DIPG is invasive in nature, where tumor cells interweave into the fiber nerve tracts of the pons making the tumor unresectable. Accordingly, novel approaches in combating the disease are of utmost importance and receptor-driven cell invasion in the context of DIPG is under-researched area. Here, we investigated the impact on cell invasion mediated by PLEXINB1, PLEXINB2, platelet growth factor receptor (PDGFR)α, PDGFRβ, epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR), activin receptor 1 (ACVR1), chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4), and NOTCH1. Methods:We used previously published RNA-sequencing data to measure gene expression of selected receptors in DIPG tumor tissue versus matched normal tissue controls (n = 18). We assessed protein expression of the corresponding genes using DIPG cell culture models. Then, we performed cell viability and cell invasion assays of DIPG cells stimulated with chemoattractants/ligands. Results:RNA-sequencing data showed increased gene expression of receptor genes such as PLEXINB2, PDGFRα, EGFR, ACVR1, CXCR4, and NOTCH1 in DIPG tumors compared to the control tissues. Representative DIPG cell lines demonstrated correspondingly increased protein expression levels of these genes. Cell viability assays showed minimal effects of growth factors/chemokines on tumor cell growth in most instances. Recombinant SEMA4C, SEM4D, PDGF-AA, PDGF-BB, ACVA, CXCL12, and DLL4 ligand stimulation altered invasion in DIPG cells. Conclusions:We show that no single growth factor-ligand pair universally induces DIPG cell invasion. However, our results reveal a potential to create a composite of cytokines or anti-cytokines to modulate DIPG cell invasion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbervdab039
JournalNeuro-Oncology Advances
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • DiPG
  • cell invasion
  • chemokine/cytokine
  • receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Oncology
  • Surgery


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