Negative allosteric modulators of metabotropic glutamate receptor 3 target the stem-like phenotype of glioblastoma
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Glioblastoma is an invariably deadly disease. A subpopulation of glioma stem-like cells (GSCs) drives tumor progression and treatment resistance. Two recent studies demonstrated that neurons form oncogenic glutamatergic electrochemical synapses with post-synaptic GSCs. This led us to explore whether glutamate signaling through G protein-coupled metabotropic receptors would also contribute to the malignancy of glioblastoma. We found that glutamate metabotropic receptor (Grm)3 is the predominantly expressed Grm in glioblastoma. Associations of GRM3 gene expression levels with survival are confined to the proneural gene expression subtype, which is associated with enrichment of GSCs. Using multiplexed single-cell qRT-PCR, GSC marker-based cell sorting, database interrogations, and functional assays in GSCs derived from patients’ tumors, we establish Grm3 as a novel marker and potential therapeutic target in GSCs. We confirm that Grm3 inhibits adenylyl cyclase and regulates extracellular signal-regulated kinase. Targeting Grm3 disrupts self-renewal and promotes differentiation of GSCs. Thus, we hypothesize that Grm3 signaling may complement oncogenic functions of glutamatergic ionotropic receptor activity in neuroglial synapses, supporting a link between neuronal activity and the GSC phenotype. The novel class of highly specific Grm3 inhibitors that we characterize herein have been clinically tested as cognitive enhancers in humans with a favorable safety profile. Show more
Journal / seriesMolecular Therapy - Oncolytics
Pages / Article No.
MoreShow all metadata