The progenitor cell marker NG2/MPG promotes chemoresistance by activation of integrin-dependent PI3K/Akt signaling

Oncogene. 2008 Sep 4;27(39):5182-94. doi: 10.1038/onc.2008.157. Epub 2008 May 12.


Chemoresistance represents a major problem in the treatment of many malignancies. Overcoming this obstacle will require improved understanding of the mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon. The progenitor cell marker NG2/melanoma proteoglycan (MPG) is aberrantly expressed by various tumors, but its role in cell death signaling and its potential as a therapeutic target are largely unexplored. We have assessed cytotoxic drug-induced cell death in glioblastoma spheroids from 15 patients, as well as in five cancer cell lines that differ with respect to NG2/MPG expression. The tumors were treated with doxorubicin, etoposide, carboplatin, temodal, cisplatin and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)alpha. High NG2/MPG expression correlated with multidrug resistance mediated by increased activation of alpha3beta1 integrin/PI3K signaling and their downstream targets, promoting cell survival. NG2/MPG knockdown with shRNAs incorporated into lentiviral vectors attenuated beta1 integrin signaling revealing potent antitumor effects and further sensitized neoplastic cells to cytotoxic treatment in vitro and in vivo. Thus, as a novel regulator of the antiapoptotic response, NG2/MPG may represent an effective therapeutic target in several cancer subtypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antigens / physiology*
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Brain Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Glioma / metabolism*
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Integrins / physiology*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proteoglycans / physiology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology


  • Antigens
  • Integrins
  • Proteoglycans
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan 4
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt