Mini-chromosome maintenance (MCM) proteins are critical components of DNA-replication-licensing factors. MCM8 is an MCM protein that exhibits oncogenic functions in several human malignancies. However, the role of MCM8 in glioblastomas (GBMs) has remained unclear. In the present study, we investigated the biological functions and mechanisms of MCM8 in glioma stem cells (GSCs). The clinical relevance of MCM8 mRNA expression was explored via TCGA and REMBRANDT datasets. The effects of MCM8 on the self-renewal and tumorigenicity of GSCs were examined both in vitro and in vivo. The regulation of MCM8 expression and its interacting proteins were also evaluated. We found that the expression of MCM8 was elevated in high-grade gliomas and classical molecular subtypes and was inversely correlated with patient prognosis. GSCs had a significantly higher expression of MCM8 compared with that in normal glioma cells. Silencing of MCM8 induced G0/G1 arrest and apoptosis, as well as inhibited the proliferation and self-renewal of GSCs. Forced expression of MCM8 enhanced clonogenicity of GSCs both in vitro and in vivo. MCM8 expression was regulated by EGFR signaling, which was mediated by NF-κB (p65). MCM8 interacted with DNA-replication-initiating factors—including EZH2, CDC6, and CDCA2—and influenced these factors to associate with chromatin. In addition, MCM8 knockdown increased the sensitivity of GSCs to radiation and TMZ treatments. Our findings suggest that MCM8, regulated by the EGFR pathway, maintains the clonogenic and tumorigenic potential of GSCs through interaction with DNA-replication-initiating factors; hence, MCM8 may represent a novel therapeutic target in GBMs.
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We thank Qingchang Li from the Department of Pathology at China Medical University for technological support and assistance with statistical analyses. This work was supported by the LiaoNing Revitalization Talents Program (No. XLYC1807253) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81772653 and 81402045)
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Wang, X., Zhang, L., Song, Y. et al. MCM8 is regulated by EGFR signaling and promotes the growth of glioma stem cells through its interaction with DNA-replication-initiating factors. Oncogene 40, 4615–4624 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41388-021-01888-1