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09 Could DLX2 regulation of neural progenitor cell fate contribute to differentiation of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG)?

  • M Nevin, X Song, S Japoni, J Zagozewski, Q Jiang, O Becher, R Godbout, DA Underhill and DD Eisenstat...

Abstract

Introduction: Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is refractory to therapy. The identification of histone H3.1/H3.3 K27M mutations in most DIPG has provided new insights. The DLX homeobox genes are expressed in the developing forebrain. The Dlx1/Dlx2 double knockout (DKO) mouse loses tangential GABAergic interneuron migration to the neocortex. We have identified genes that encode glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) enzymes as direct targets of DLX1/DLX2. In DIPG patients with H3.3 K27M mutations there is decreased Dlx2 and increased expression of the myelin transcription factor, Myt1. Methods and Results: We used bioinformatics approaches and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays to identify Olig2, Nkx2.2 and Myt1 promoter sequences as candidate DLX2 targets in vivo. DNA binding specificity was confirmed. The functional consequences of Dlx2 co-expression with reporter constructs of ChIP-isolated promoter fragments of Olig2 and Nkx2.2 demonstrated repression of gene targets in vitro. qPCR showed increased Olig2 and Nkx2.2 expression in the DKO forebrain. Stable transfection of a murine DIPG cell line with Dlx2 resulted in increased Gad1 and Gad2 and decreased Olig2 and Nkx2.2 expression. Of significance, we demonstrated decreased expression of H3.3 K27M and restoration of H3.3 K27 tri-methylation (me3). Conclusions: DLX transcription factors promote GABAergic interneuron and concomitant inhibition of oligodendroglial differentiation in neural progenitors by repression of a suite of genes including Olig2 and Nkx2.2. Restoration of H3 K27me3 expression in DIPG provides a promising lead towards exploration of differentiation as a therapeutic strategy for DIPG.

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