Vasculogenic mimicry (VM) refers to the fluid-conducting channels formed by aggressive tumor cells rather than endothelial cells (EC) with elevated expression of genes associated with vascularization. VM has been considered as one of the reasons that glioblastoma becomes resistant to anti-VEGF therapy. However, the molecular basis underlying VM formation remains unclear. Here we report that the insulin-like growth factor–binding protein 2 (IGFBP2) acts as a potent factor to enhance VM formation in glioma. Evidence showed that elevated IGFBP2 expression was positively related with VM formation in patients with glioma. Enforced expression of IGFBP2 increased network formation of glioma cells in vitro by activating CD144 and MMP2 (Matrix Metalloproteinase 2). U251 cells with stable knockdown of IGFBP2 led to decreased VM formation and tumor progression in orthotopic mouse model. Mechanistically, IGFBP2 interacts with integrin α5 and β1 subunits and augments CD144 expression in a FAK/ERK pathway-dependent manner. Luciferase reporter and ChIP assay suggested that IGFBP2 activated the transcription factor SP1, which could bind to CD144 promoter. Thus, IGFBP2 acts as a stimulator of VM formation in glioma cells via enhancing CD144 and MMP2 expression.
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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81772651 and No. 81772652)
XLS and YQK completed conception and design of the research, YL drafted the manuscript; YL, FL, YTY prepared the figures, YL, XDX, JSC, TLC, HJC, YBZ, JYL conducted the experiments, YQK, YL, and XMX edited the manuscript, YQK approved final version of the manuscript.
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