The G protein α subunit Gαs is a tumor suppressor in Sonic hedgehog-driven medulloblastoma

Xuelian He, Liguo Zhang, Ying Chen, Marc Remke, David Shih, Fanghui Lu, Haibo Wang, Yaqi Deng, Yang Yu, Yong Xia, Xiaochong Wu, Vijay Ramaswamy, Tom Hu, Fan Wang, Wenhao Zhou, Dennis K. Burns, Se Hoon Kim, Marcel Kool, Stefan M. Pfister, Lee S. WeinsteinScott L. Pomeroy, Richard J. Gilbertson, Joshua B. Rubin, Yiping Hou, Robert Wechsler-Reya, Michael D. Taylor, Q. Richard Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Scopus citations


Medulloblastoma, the most common malignant childhood brain tumor, exhibits distinct molecular subtypes and cellular origins. Genetic alterations driving medulloblastoma initiation and progression remain poorly understood. Herein, we identify GNAS, encoding the G protein Gα s, as a potent tumor suppressor gene that, when expressed at low levels, defines a subset of aggressive Sonic hedgehog (SHH)-driven human medulloblastomas. Ablation of the single Gnas gene in anatomically distinct progenitors in mice is sufficient to induce Shh-associated medulloblastomas, which recapitulate their human counterparts. Gαs is highly enriched at the primary cilium of granule neuron precursors and suppresses Shh signaling by regulating both the cAMP-dependent pathway and ciliary trafficking of Hedgehog pathway components. Elevation in levels of a G7alpha;s effector, cAMP, effectively inhibits tumor cell proliferation and progression in Gnas-ablated mice. Thus, our gain-and loss-of-function studies identify a previously unrecognized tumor suppressor function for Gαs that can be found consistently across Shh-group medulloblastomas of disparate cellular and anatomical origins, highlighting G protein modulation as a potential therapeutic avenue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1035-1042
Number of pages8
JournalNature medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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    He, X., Zhang, L., Chen, Y., Remke, M., Shih, D., Lu, F., Wang, H., Deng, Y., Yu, Y., Xia, Y., Wu, X., Ramaswamy, V., Hu, T., Wang, F., Zhou, W., Burns, D. K., Kim, S. H., Kool, M., Pfister, S. M., ... Lu, Q. R. (2014). The G protein α subunit Gαs is a tumor suppressor in Sonic hedgehog-driven medulloblastoma. Nature medicine, 20(9), 1035-1042.