Defining a role for Sonic hedgehog pathway activation in desmoplastic medulloblastoma by identifying GLI1 target genes

Joon Won Yoon, Richard Gilbertson, Stephen Iannaccone, Philip Iannaccone, David Walterhouse*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


A subgroup of medulloblastomas shows constitutive activation of the Sonic hedgehog pathway with expression of GUI. We identified the subset of GLI1 transforming target genes specifically expressed in medulloblastomas by comparing GLI1 targets in RK3E cells transformed by GLI1 with the gene expression profile of Sonic hedgehog signature medulloblastomas. We identified 1,823 genes whose expression was altered more than 2-fold in 2 independent RK3E 1 GLII cell lines. We identified 25 whose expression was altered similarly in medulloblastomas expressing GLII We identified potential GLI binding elements in the regulatory regions of 10 of these genes, confirmed that GLI1 binds the regulatory regions and activates transcription of select genes, and showed that GLI1 directly represses transcription of Krox-20. We identified upregulation of CXCR4, a chemokine receptor that plays roles in the proliferation and migration of granule cell neuron precursors during development, supporting the concept that reinitiation of developmental programs may contribute to medulloblastoma tumorigenesis. In addition, the targets suggest a pathway through which GLI1 may ultimately affect medulloblastoma cell proliferation, survival and genomic stability by converging on p53, SGK1, MGMT and NTRK2. We identify a p53 mutation in RK3E 1 GLII cells, suggesting that p53 mutations may sometimes shift the balance toward dysregulated tumor cell survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-119
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • CXCR4
  • GLI1
  • MGMT
  • Medulloblastoma
  • NTRK2
  • P53
  • SGK1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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