BACKGROUND - In glioblastoma (GBM), Id1 serves as a functional marker for self-renewing cancer stem-like cells. We investigated the mechanism by which cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2)-derived prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) induces Id1 and increases GBM self-renewal and radiation resistance.
METHODS - Mouse and human GBM cells were stimulated with dimethyl-PGE2 (dmPGE2), a stabilized form of PGE2, to test for Id1 induction. To elucidate the signal transduction pathway governing the increase in Id1, a combination of short interfering RNA knockdown and small molecule inhibitors and activators of PGE2 signaling were used. Western blotting, quantitative real-time (qRT)-PCR, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays were employed. Sphere formation and radiation resistance were measured in cultured primary cells. Immunohistochemical analyses were carried out to evaluate the Cox-2-Id1 axis in experimental GBM.
RESULTS - In GBM cells, dmPGE2 stimulates the EP4 receptor leading to activation of ERK1/2 MAPK. This leads, in turn, to upregulation of the early growth response1 (Egr1) transcription factor and enhanced Id1 expression. Activation of this pathway increases self-renewal capacity and resistance to radiation-induced DNA damage, which are dependent on Id1.
CONCLUSIONS - In GBM, Cox-2-derived PGE2 induces Id1 via EP4-dependent activation of MAPK signaling and the Egr1 transcription factor. PGE2-mediated induction of Id1 is required for optimal tumor cell self-renewal and radiation resistance. Collectively, these findings identify Id1 as a key mediator of PGE2-dependent modulation of radiation response and lend insight into the mechanisms underlying radiation resistance in GBM patients.
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