Sonic hedgehog and insulin-like growth factor signaling synergize to induce medulloblastoma formation from nestin-expressing neural progenitors in mice

Oncogene. 2004 Aug 12;23(36):6156-62. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1207818.


Medulloblastoma (MB) is a malignant brain tumor that arises in the cerebellum of children. Activation of the Sonic hedgehog/Patched (Shh/Ptc) signaling pathway in neural progenitor cells of the cerebellum induces MBs in mice. The incomplete penetrance of tumor formation in mice, coupled with the low frequency of mutations in Shh/Ptc pathway genes in human tumors, suggests that other signaling molecules cooperate with Shh to enhance MB formation. We modeled the ability of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling to induce MB using the RCAS/tv-a system, which allows postnatal gene transfer and expression in a cell-type-specific manner. We used RCAS retroviral vectors to target expression of Shh, IGF2, and activated Akt to nestin-expressing neural progenitors in the cerebella of newborn mice. The incidence of Shh-induced tumor formation (15%) was enhanced by coexpression with IGF2 (39%) and Akt (48%). Neither IGF2 nor Akt caused tumors when expressed independently. The induced tumors showed upregulated expression of insulin receptor substrate 1 and phosphorylated forms of IGF1 receptor and Akt, mimicking activated IGF signaling found in human MBs. These results indicate that combined activation of the Shh/Ptc and IGF signaling pathways is an important mechanism in MB pathogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Cerebellar Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cerebellum / cytology*
  • Chickens
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / genetics
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / metabolism*
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Medulloblastoma / etiology*
  • Medulloblastoma / metabolism
  • Medulloblastoma / pathology
  • Mice
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nestin
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Retroviridae / genetics
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • NES protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nes protein, mouse
  • Nestin
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • SHH protein, human
  • Trans-Activators
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt