Histone H3.3 glycine 34 to arginine/valine (G34R/V) mutations drive deadly gliomas and show exquisite regional and temporal specificity, suggesting a developmental context permissive to their effects. Here we show that 50% of G34R/V tumors (n = 95) bear activating PDGFRA mutations that display strong selection pressure at recurrence. Although considered gliomas, G34R/V tumors actually arise in GSX2/DLX-expressing interneuron progenitors, where G34R/V mutations impair neuronal differentiation. The lineage of origin may facilitate PDGFRA co-option through a chromatin loop connecting PDGFRA to GSX2 regulatory elements, promoting PDGFRA overexpression and mutation. At the single-cell level, G34R/V tumors harbor dual neuronal/astroglial identity and lack oligodendroglial programs, actively repressed by GSX2/DLX-mediated cell fate specification. G34R/V may become dispensable for tumor maintenance, whereas mutant-PDGFRA is potently oncogenic. Collectively, our results open novel research avenues in deadly tumors. G34R/V gliomas are neuronal malignancies where interneuron progenitors are stalled in differentiation by G34R/V mutations and malignant gliogenesis is promoted by co-option of a potentially targetable pathway, PDGFRA signaling.
Keywords: GSX2; H3.3 G34R/V; PDGFRA; cell-of-origin; chromatin conformation; gliomas; interneuron progenitors; oncohistones; pediatric cancer; single-cell transcriptome.
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