Diversified expression of NG2/CSPG4 isoforms in glioblastoma and human foetal brain identifies pericyte subsets

Francesco Girolamo, Alice Dallatomasina, Marco Rizzi, Mariella Errede, Thomas Wälchli, Maria Teresa Mucignat, Karl Frei, Luisa Roncali, Roberto Perris, Daniela Virgintino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

NG2/CSPG4 is a complex surface-associated proteoglycan (PG) recognized to be a widely expressed membrane component of glioblastoma (WHO grade IV) cells and angiogenic pericytes. To determine the precise expression pattern of NG2/CSPG4 on glioblastoma cells and pericytes, we generated a panel of ≥60 mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed against the ectodomain of human NG2/CSPG4, partially characterized the mAbs, and performed a high-resolution distributional mapping of the PG in human foetal, adult and glioblastoma- affected brains. The reactivity pattern initially observed on reference tumour cell lines indicated that the mAbs recognized 48 immunologically distinct NG2/CSPG4 isoforms, and a total of 14 mAbs was found to identify NG2/CSPG4 isoforms in foetal and neoplastic cerebral sections. These were consistently absent in the adult brain, but exhibited a complementary expression pattern in angiogenic vessels of both tumour and foetal tissues. Considering the extreme pleomorphism of tumour areas, and with the aim of subsequently analysing the distributional pattern of the NG2/CSPG4 isoforms on similar histological vessel typologies, a preliminary study was carried out with endothelial cell and pericyte markers, and with selected vascular basement membrane (VBM) components. On both tumour areas characterized by 'glomeruloid' and 'garland vessels', which showed a remarkably similar cellular and molecular organization, and on developing brain vessels, spatially separated, phenotypically diversified pericyte subsets with a polarized expression of key surface components, including NG2/CSPG4, were disclosed. Interestingly, the majority of the immunolocalized NG2/CSPG4 isoforms present in glioblastoma tissue were present in foetal brain, except for one isoform that seemed to be exclusive of tumour cells, being absent in foetal brain. The results highlight an unprecedented, complex pattern of NG2/CSPG4 isoform expression in foetal and neoplastic CNS, discriminating between phenotype-specific and neoplastic versus non-neoplastic variants of the PG, thus opening up vistas for more selective immunotherapeutic targeting of brain tumours.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere84883
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 26 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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