Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have an undefined role in the pathobiology of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). These tumors are genetically and phenotypically heterogeneous with transcriptome subtype-specific GBM stem-like cells (GSCs) that adapt to the brain tumor microenvironment, including hypoxic niches. We identified hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha-antisense RNA 2 (HIF1A-AS2) as a subtype-specific hypoxia-inducible lncRNA, upregulated in mesenchymal GSCs. Its deregulation affects GSC growth, self-renewal, and hypoxia-dependent molecular reprogramming. Among the HIF1A-AS2 interactome, IGF2BP2 and DHX9 were identified as direct partners. This association was needed for maintenance of expression of their target gene, HMGA1. Downregulation of HIF1A-AS2 led to delayed growth of mesenchymal GSC tumors, survival benefits, and impaired expression of HMGA1 in vivo. Our data demonstrate that HIF1A-AS2 contributes to GSCs' speciation and adaptation to hypoxia within the tumor microenvironment, acting directly through its interactome and targets and indirectly by modulating responses to hypoxic stress depending on the subtype-specific genetic context.
Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.