Novel proteins regulated by mTOR in subependymal giant cell astrocytomas of patients with tuberous sclerosis complex and new therapeutic implications

Am J Pathol. 2010 Apr;176(4):1878-90. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2010.090950. Epub 2010 Feb 4.


Subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) are rare brain tumors associated with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a disease caused by mutations in TSC1 or TSC2, resulting in enhancement of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activity, dysregulation of cell growth, and tumorigenesis. Signaling via mTOR plays a role in multifaceted genomic responses, but its effectors in the brain are largely unknown. Therefore, gene expression profiling on four SEGAs was performed with Affymetrix Human Genome arrays. Of the genes differentially expressed in TSC, 11 were validated by real-time PCR on independent tumor samples and 3 SEGA-derived cultures. Expression of several proteins was confirmed by immunohistochemistry. The differentially-regulated proteins were mainly involved in tumorigenesis and nervous system development. ANXA1, GPNMB, LTF, RND3, S100A11, SFRP4, and NPTX1 genes were likely to be mTOR effector genes in SEGA, as their expression was modulated by an mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin, in SEGA-derived cells. Inhibition of mTOR signaling affected size of cultured SEGA cells but had no influence on their proliferation, morphology, or migration, whereas inhibition of both mTOR and extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling pathways led to significant alterations of these processes. For the first time, we identified genes related to the occurrence of SEGA and regulated by mTOR and demonstrated an effective modulation of SEGA growth by pharmacological inhibition of both mTOR and extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling pathways, which could represent a novel therapeutic approach.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytoma / metabolism*
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Giant Cells / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Models, Biological
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / metabolism*


  • RNA
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Bromodeoxyuridine