REST controls self-renewal and tumorigenic competence of human glioblastoma cells

Luciano Conti, Laura Crisafulli, Valentina Caldera, Monica Tortoreto, Elisa Brilli, Paola Conforti, Franco Zunino, Lorenzo Magrassi, Davide Schiffer, Elena Cattaneo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Repressor Element 1 Silencing Transcription factor (REST/NRSF) is a master repressor of neuronal programs in non-neuronal lineages shown to function as a central regulator of developmental programs and stem cell physiology. Aberrant REST function has been associated with a number of pathological conditions. In cancer biology, REST has been shown to play a tumor suppressor activity in epithelial cancers but an oncogenic role in brain childhood malignancies such as neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma. Here we examined REST expression in human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) specimens and its role in GBM cells carrying self-renewal and tumorigenic competence. We found REST to be expressed in GBM specimens, its presence being particularly enriched in tumor cells in the perivascular compartment. Significantly, REST is highly expressed in self-renewing tumorigenic-competent GBM cells and its knock down strongly reduces their self-renewal in vitro and tumor-initiating capacity in vivo and affects levels of miR-124 and its downstream targets. These results indicate that REST contributes to GBM maintenance by affecting its self-renewing and tumorigenic cellular component and that, hence, a better understanding of these circuitries in these cells might lead to new exploitable therapeutic targets.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere38486
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 11 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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