CD271+ osteosarcoma cells display stem-like properties

PLoS One. 2014 Jun 3;9(6):e98549. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098549. eCollection 2014.


Cancer stem cell (CSC) theory has been proposed and verified in many cancers. The existence of osteosarcoma CSCs has been confirmed for many years and multiple surface markers have been employed to identify them. In this study, we identified CD271(+) subpopulation of osteosarcoma displaying stem-like properties. CD271, known as the neural crest nerve growth factor receptor, is the marker of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and human melanoma-initiating cells. We discovered that CD271 was expressed differentially in diverse types of human osteosarcoma and stabilized cell lines. CD271(+) osteosarcoma cells displayed most of the properties of CSC, such as self-renewal, differentiation, drug resistance and tumorigenicity in vivo. Nanog, Oct3/4, STAT3, DNA-PKcs, Bcl-2 and ABCG2 were more expressed in CD271(+) cells compared with CD271- cells. Our study supported the osteosarcoma CSC hypothesis and, to a certain extent, revealed one of the possible mechanisms involved in maintaining CSCs properties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters / metabolism
  • Adapalene
  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Nanog Homeobox Protein
  • Naphthalenes / metabolism*
  • Osteosarcoma / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism


  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily G, Member 2
  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Abcg2 protein, mouse
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nanog Homeobox Protein
  • Nanog protein, mouse
  • Naphthalenes
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • Adapalene

Grant support

This study was supported by a National Natural Science Foundation of China (81172551), and a Shandong Technological Development Project (ZR2011HM037). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.