DOI: 10.1101/454389Nov 9, 2018Paper

Activation of dopamine receptor 2 (DRD2) prompts transcriptomic and metabolic plasticity in glioblastoma

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Seamus Patrick CaragherAtique U Ahmed


Glioblastoma (GBM) is one of the most aggressive and lethal tumor types. Evidence continues to accrue indicating that the complex relationship between GBM and the brain microenvironment contributes to this malignant phenotype. However, the interaction between GBM and neurotransmitters, signaling molecules involved in neuronal communication, remains incompletely understood. Here we examined, in both sexes of humans and mice, how the monoamine dopamine influences GBM cells. We demonstrate that GBM cells express DRD2, with elevated expression in the glioma-initiating cell (GIC) population. Stimulation of DRD2 caused neuron-like depolarization exclusively in GICs. In addition, long-term activation of DRD2 heightened the sphere-forming capacity of GBM cells as well as tumor engraftment efficiency. Mechanistic investigation revealed that DRD2 signaling activates the hypoxia response and functionally alters metabolism. Finally, we found that GBM cells synthesize and secrete dopamine themselves, suggesting a potential autocrine mechanism. These results identify dopamine signaling as a potential therapeutic target in GBM and further highlight neurotransmitters as a key feature of the pro-tumor microenvironment.

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