Glioblastomas (GBMs) are incurable brain tumors with a high degree of cellular heterogeneity and genetic mutations. Transcription factors that normally regulate neural progenitors and glial development are aberrantly coexpressed in GBM, conferring cancer stem-like properties to drive tumor progression and therapeutic resistance. However, the functional role of individual transcription factors in GBMs in vivo remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that the basic-helix–loop–helix transcription factor ASCL1 regulates transcriptional targets that are central to GBM development, including neural stem cell and glial transcription factors, oncogenic signaling molecules, chromatin modifying genes, and cell cycle and mitotic genes. We also show that the loss of ASCL1 significantly reduces the proliferation of GBMs induced in the brain of a genetically relevant glioma mouse model, resulting in extended survival times. RNA-seq analysis of mouse GBM tumors reveal that the loss of ASCL1 is associated with downregulation of cell cycle genes, illustrating an important role for ASCL1 in controlling the proliferation of GBM.
- brain tumor
- glioma development
- mouse model
- transcription factor function
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience