Background: RecQ helicases play an essential role in the maintenance of genome stability. In humans, loss of RecQ helicase function is linked with predisposition to cancer and/or premature ageing. Current data show that the specific depletion of the human RECQ1 helicase leads to mitotic catastrophe in cancer cells and inhibition of tumor growth in mice.
Results: Here, we show that RECQ1 is highly expressed in various types of solid tumors. However, only in the case of brain gliomas, the high expression of RECQ1 in glioblastoma tissues is paralleled by a lower expression in the control samples due to the poor expression of RECQ1 in non-dividing tissues. This conclusion is validated by immunohistochemical analysis of a tissue microarray containing 63 primary glioblastomas and 19 perilesional tissue samples, as control. We also show that acute depletion of RECQ1 by RNAi results in a significant reduction of cellular proliferation, perturbation of S-phase progression, and spontaneous γ-H2AX foci formation in T98G and U-87 glioblastoma cells. Moreover, RECQ1 depleted T98G and U-87 cells are hypersensitive to HU or temozolomide treatment.
Conclusions: Collectively, these results indicate that RECQ1 has a unique and important role in the maintenance of genome integrity. Our results also suggest that RECQ1 might represent a new suitable target for anti cancer therapies aimed to arrest cell proliferation in brain gliomas.