The elucidation of mechanisms involved in resistance to therapies is essential to improve the survival of patients with malignant gliomas. A major feature possessed by glioma cells that may aid their ability to survive therapy and reconstitute tumors is the capacity for self-renewal. We show here that glioma stem cells (GSCs) express low levels of MKP1, a dual-specificity phosphatase, which acts as a negative inhibitor of JNK, ERK1/2, and p38 MAPK, while induction of high levels of MKP1 expression are associated with differentiation of GSC. Notably, we find that high levels of MKP1 correlate with a subset of glioblastoma patients with better prognosis and overall increased survival. Gain of expression studies demonstrated that elevated MKP1 impairs self-renewal and induces differentiation of GSCs while reducing tumorigenesis in vivo. Moreover, we identified that MKP1 is epigenetically regulated and that it mediates the anti-tumor activity of histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) alone or in combination with temozolomide. In summary, this study identifies MKP1 as a key modulator of the interplay between GSC self-renewal and differentiation and provides evidence that the activation of MKP1, through epigenetic regulation, might be a novel therapeutic strategy to overcome therapy resistance in glioblastoma.
- Journal Article