Inhibition of phospholipase C-gamma1 activation blocks glioma cell motility and invasion of fetal rat brain aggregates

Neurosurgery. 1999 Mar;44(3):568-77; discussion 577-8. doi: 10.1097/00006123-199903000-00073.


Objective: Phospholipase C (PLC)-gamma is a cytosolic enzyme activated by several growth factor (GF) receptors (epidermal GF receptor [EGFR], platelet-derived GF receptor, and insulin-like GF 1 receptor), and its activation is associated with increased cell motility (but not cell proliferation) in nonglioma cell lines. Because up-regulated activation of EGFR has been consistently linked to poor patient survival in patients with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and because inhibition of EGFR activation by tyrosine kinase inhibitors prevents glioma infiltration in vitro, we hypothesized that inhibition of PLC-gamma activation would inhibit glioma cell invasiveness.

Methods: Our experimental model assesses tumor spheroid invasion of fetal rat brain spheroids by confocal microscopy. We treated U87 GBM spheroids, and those derived from a single patient, with the PLC inhibitor U73122. We also transfected rat C6 glioma cells with the PLCz complementary deoxyribonucleic acid coding for a dominant negative PLC-gamma1 src-homology-2/src-homology-3 peptide fragment, which blocks binding and activation of PLC-gamma1 by GF receptors. Two clones (C6F and C6E) were grown into spheroids and were tested for invasiveness in the spheroid model and for responsiveness to GFs in a standard in vitro motility assay.

Results: The infiltration rate of the patient GBM cell line overexpressing wild-type EGFR was reduced by 2 micromol/L U73122 from a slope (percent invasion/h) of 0.74+/-0.08 (with the inactive congener U73343) to 0.04+/-0.053 (P = 8 x 10(-7) by two-tailed t test, 92% reduction); the integral rate, another measure of invasion, was reduced from 49.7+/-13 percent-hours per hour to 13.6+/-12 (P = 0.002, 72% reduction). The U87 spheroid invasion rate was reduced by 0.5 micromol/L U73122 from 46.7+/-8.5 percent-hours per hour to 11.2+/-4.6 (P = 3 x 10(-5)); the slope decreased from 1.7+/-0.41 percent per hour to 0.35+/-0.14 (P = 0.0001). The C6F and C6E clones demonstrated attachment to and "surrounding" of the fetal rat brain aggregate but no true invasion by confocal or light microscopy. PLCz blocked the motility response to epidermal GF, platelet-derived GF, and insulin-like GF. There was a significant decrease in PLC-gamma1-associated tyrosine phosphorylation.

Conclusion: These results support a key role for PLC-gamma activation as a common postreceptor pathway for GF-induced tumor infiltration and further identify PLC-gamma1 as a possible target for anti-invasive therapy for GBMs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Brain / enzymology*
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Glioblastoma / metabolism*
  • Growth Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Phospholipase C gamma
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Growth Factor / metabolism*
  • Spheroids, Cellular / metabolism*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Type C Phospholipases / metabolism*


  • Growth Inhibitors
  • Isoenzymes
  • Receptors, Growth Factor
  • Type C Phospholipases
  • Phospholipase C gamma