Cancer stem cells sustain propagation of the deadly primary brain cancer glioblastoma. Glioblastoma stem cells (GSCs) characterized by a mesenchymal phenotype are aggressive and resistant to therapies and represent a crucial therapeutic target. In this issue of the JCI, Chen et al. show that the intracellular levels of aldehyde dehydrogenase 1A3 (ALDH1A3), known as a functional marker of mesenchymal GSCs, are regulated posttranslationally by ubiquitin-specific protease 9X–mediated (USP9X-mediated) deubiquitination. Increased expression of USP9X stabilizes ALDH1A3, enabling GSCs to exhibit mesenchymal traits and the malignant phenotype. Thus, the USP9X-ALDH1A3 axis may offer a novel therapeutic target in glioblastoma.
The Editorial Board will only consider comments that are deemed relevant and of interest to readers. The Journal will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review; or a comment that is essentially a reiteration of another comment.