Phenotypic similarities have long been recognized between subpopulations of glioma and neural stem cells. Many of these similar properties, including the robust abilities to self-renew, migrate, and invade, are hallmarks of glioma cells that render them extremely aggressive. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this character, particularly in glioma stem-like cells that drive this disease, remain poorly understood. Here, we report the results of a differential miRNA expression screen that compared glioma and neural stem cells, where we found that miR-204 was markedly downregulated in both types of cells. Mechanistic investigations revealed that miR-204 simultaneously suppressed self-renewal, stem cell-associated phenotype, and migration of glioma cells by targeting the stemness-governing transcriptional factor SOX4 and the migration-promoting receptor EphB2. Restoring miR-204 expression in glioma cells suppressed tumorigenesis and invasiveness in vivo and increased overall host survival. Further evaluation revealed that the miR-204 promoter was hypermethylated and that attenuating promoter methylation was sufficient to upregulate miR-204 in glioma cells. Together, our findings reveal miR-204 as a pivotal regulator of the development of stem cell-like phenotypes and cell motility in malignant glioma cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research