Articles by Raffaella Spina in JoVE
Flow Cytometry-based Drug Screening System for the Identification of Small Molecules That Promote Cellular Differentiation of Glioblastoma Stem Cells Raffaella Spina1, Dillon M. Voss1, Laura Asnaghi2, Andrew Sloan1,3, Eli E. Bar1 1Department of Neurological Surgery, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 2Department of Pathology, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, 3Department of Neurological Surgery, University Hospital-Case Medical Center, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine An efficient screening protocol is presented for the identification of small molecules that promote astroglial differentiation in glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs). The assay is based on a stem cell differentiation reporter whereby the expression of the enhanced GFP (eGFP) is driven by the human GFAP promoter.
Other articles by Raffaella Spina on PubMed
The Polyamine Catabolic Enzyme SAT1 Modulates Tumorigenesis and Radiation Response in GBM Cancer Research. | Pubmed ID: 25277523 Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and severe form of brain cancer. The median survival time of patients is approximately 12 months due to poor responses to surgery and chemoradiation. To understand the mechanisms involved in radioresistance, we conducted a genetic screen using an shRNA library to identify genes in which inhibition would sensitize cells to radiation. The results were cross-referenced with the Oncomine and Rembrandt databases to focus on genes that are highly expressed in GBM tumors and associated with poor patient outcomes. Spermidine/spermine-N1-acetyltransferase 1 (SAT1), an enzyme involved in polyamine catabolism, was identified as a gene that promotes resistance to ionizing radiation (IR), is overexpressed in brain tumors, and correlates with poor outcomes. Knockdown of SAT1 using shRNA and siRNA approaches in multiple cell and neurosphere lines resulted in sensitization of GBM cells to radiation in colony formation assays and tumors, and decreased tumorigenesis in vivo. Radiosensitization occurred specifically in G2-M and S phases, suggesting a role for SAT1 in homologous recombination (HR) that was confirmed in a DR-GFP reporter system. Mechanistically, we found that SAT1 promotes acetylation of histone H3, suggesting a new role of SAT1 in chromatin remodeling and regulation of gene expression. In particular, SAT1 depletion led to a dramatic reduction in BRCA1 expression, explaining decreased HR capacity. Our findings suggest that the biologic significance of elevated SAT1 expression in GBM lies in its contribution to cell radioresistance and that SAT1 may potentially be a therapeutic target to sensitize GBM to cancer therapies.
Atracurium Besylate and Other Neuromuscular Blocking Agents Promote Astroglial Differentiation and Deplete Glioblastoma Stem Cells Oncotarget. | Pubmed ID: 26575950 Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) are the most common primary malignant brain tumor in adults, with a median survival of about one year. This poor prognosis is attributed primarily to therapeutic resistance and tumor recurrence after surgical removal, with the root cause suggested to be found in glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs). Using glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) as a reporter of astrocytic differentiation, we isolated multiple clones from three independent GSC lines which express GFAP in a remarkably stable fashion. We next show that elevated expression of GFAP is associated with reduced clonogenicity in vitro and tumorigenicity in vivo. Utilizing this in vitro cell-based differentiation reporter system we screened chemical libraries and identified the non-depolarizing neuromuscular blocker (NNMB), Atracurium Besylate, as a small molecule which effectively induces astroglial but not neuronal differentiation of GSCs. Functionally, Atracurium Besylate treatment significantly inhibited the clonogenic capacity of several independent patient-derived GSC neurosphere lines, a phenomenon which was largely irreversible. A second NNMB, Vecuronium, also induced GSC astrocytic differentiation while Dimethylphenylpiperazinium (DMPP), a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonist, significantly blocked Atracurium Besylate pro-differentiation activity. To investigate the clinical importance of nAChRs in gliomas, we examined clinical outcomes and found that glioma patients with tumors overexpressing CHRNA1 or CHRNA9 (encoding for the AChR-α1 or AChR-α9) exhibit significant shorter overall survival. Finally, we found that ex-vivo pre-treatment of GSCs, expressing CHRNA1 and CHRNA9, with Atracurium Besylate significantly increased the survival of mice xenotransplanted with these cells, therefore suggesting that tumor initiating subpopulations have been reduced.
Disruption of the Monocarboxylate Transporter-4-basigin Interaction Inhibits the Hypoxic Response, Proliferation, and Tumor Progression Scientific Reports. | Pubmed ID: 28655889 We have previously shown that glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) are enriched in the hypoxic tumor microenvironment, and that monocarboxylate transporter-4 (MCT4) is critical for mediating GSC signaling in hypoxia. Basigin is involved in many physiological functions during early stages of development and in cancer and is required for functional plasma membrane expression of MCT4. We sought to determine if disruption of the MCT-Basigin interaction may be achieved with a small molecule. Using a cell-based drug-screening assay, we identified Acriflavine (ACF), a small molecule that inhibits the binding between Basigin and MCT4. Surface plasmon resonance and cellular thermal-shift-assays confirmed ACF binding to basigin in vitro and in live glioblastoma cells, respectively. ACF significantly inhibited growth and self-renewal potential of several glioblastoma neurosphere lines in vitro, and this activity was further augmented by hypoxia. Finally, treatment of mice bearing GSC-derived xenografts resulted in significant inhibition of tumor progression in early and late-stage disease. ACF treatment inhibited intratumoral expression of VEGF and tumor vascularization. Our work serves as a proof-of-concept as it shows, for the first time, that disruption of MCT binding to their chaperon, Basigin, may be an effective approach to target GSC and to inhibit angiogenesis and tumor progression.