High-grade gliomas (HGGs) are incurable brain tumors that are characterized by the presence of glioma-initiating cells (GICs). GICs are essential to tumor aggressiveness and retain the capacity for self-renewal and multilineage differentiation as long as they reside in the perivascular niche. ID proteins are master regulators of stemness and anchorage to the extracellular niche microenvironment, suggesting that they may play a role in maintaining GICs. Here, we modeled the probable therapeutic impact of ID inactivation in HGG by selective ablation of Id in tumor cells and after tumor initiation in a new mouse model of human mesenchymal HGG. Deletion of 3 Id genes induced rapid release of GICs from the perivascular niche, followed by tumor regression. GIC displacement was mediated by derepression of Rap1gap and subsequent inhibition of RAP1, a master regulator of cell adhesion. We identified a signature module of 5 genes in the ID pathway, including RAP1GAP, which segregated 2 subgroups of glioma patients with markedly different clinical outcomes. The model-informed survival analysis together with genetic and functional studies establish that ID activity is required for the maintenance of mesenchymal HGG and suggest that pharmacological inactivation of ID proteins could serve as a therapeutic strategy.


Francesco Niola, Xudong Zhao, Devendra Singh, Ryan Sullivan, Angelica Castano, Antonio Verrico, Pietro Zoppoli, Dinorah Friedmann-Morvinski, Erik Sulman, Lindy Barrett, Yuan Zhuang, Inder Verma, Robert Benezra, Ken Aldape, Antonio Iavarone, Anna Lasorella


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