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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Serpine2/PN-1 Is Required for Proliferative Expansion of Pre-Neoplastic Lesions and Malignant Progression to Medulloblastoma

Catherine Vaillant, Paola Valdivieso, Sandro Nuciforo, Marcel Kool, Alexandra Schwarzentruber-Schauerte, Hélène Méreau, Erik Cabuy, Johannes A Lobrinus, Stefan Pfister, Aimée Zuniga, Stephan Frank, Rolf Zeller
PloS One 2015, 10 (4): e0124870
25901736

BACKGROUND: Medulloblastomas are malignant childhood brain tumors that arise due to the aberrant activity of developmental pathways during postnatal cerebellar development and in adult humans. Transcriptome analysis has identified four major medulloblastoma subgroups. One of them, the Sonic hedgehog (SHH) subgroup, is caused by aberrant Hedgehog signal transduction due to mutations in the Patched1 (PTCH1) receptor or downstream effectors. Mice carrying a Patched-1 null allele (Ptch1∆/+) are a good model to study the alterations underlying medulloblastoma development as a consequence of aberrant Hedgehog pathway activity.

RESULTS: Transcriptome analysis of human medulloblastomas shows that SERPINE2, also called Protease Nexin-1 (PN-1) is overexpressed in most medulloblastomas, in particular in the SHH and WNT subgroups. As siRNA-mediated lowering of SERPINE2/PN-1 in human medulloblastoma DAOY cells reduces cell proliferation, we analyzed its potential involvement in medulloblastoma development using the Ptch1∆/+ mouse model. In Ptch1∆/+ mice, medulloblastomas arise as a consequence of aberrant Hedgehog pathway activity. Genetic reduction of Serpine2/Pn-1 interferes with medulloblastoma development in Ptch1∆/+ mice, as ~60% of the pre-neoplastic lesions (PNLs) fail to develop into medulloblastomas and remain as small cerebellar nodules. In particular the transcription factor Atoh1, whose expression is essential for development of SHH subgroup medulloblastomas is lost. Comparative molecular analysis reveals the distinct nature of the PNLs in young Ptch1∆/+Pn-1Δ/+ mice. The remaining wild-type Ptch1 allele escapes transcriptional silencing in most cases and the aberrant Hedgehog pathway activity is normalized. Furthermore, cell proliferation and the expression of the cell-cycle regulators Mycn and Cdk6 are significantly reduced in PNLs of Ptch1∆/+Pn-1Δ/+ mice.

CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis provides genetic evidence that aberrant Serpine2/Pn-1 is required for proliferation of human and mouse medulloblastoma cells. In summary, our analysis shows that Serpine2/PN-1 boosts malignant progression of PNLs to medulloblastomas, in which the Hedgehog pathway is activated in a SHH ligand-independent manner.

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