A hallmark feature of glioblastoma is its strong self-renewal potential and immature differentiation state, which contributes to its plasticity and therapeutic resistance. Here, integrated genomic and biological analyses identified PLAGL2 as a potent protooncogene targeted for amplification/gain in malignant gliomas. Enhanced PLAGL2 expression strongly suppresses neural stem cell (NSC) and glioma-initiating cell differentiation while promoting their self-renewal capacity upon differentiation induction. Transcriptome analysis revealed that these differentiation-suppressive activities are attributable in part to PLAGL2 modulation of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. Inhibition of Wnt signaling partially restores PLAGL2-expressing NSC differentiation capacity. The identification of PLAGL2 as a glioma oncogene highlights the importance of a growing class of cancer genes functioning to impart stem cell-like characteristics in malignant cells.
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