Staatsexamen, Ruprecht Karl Universitat Heidelberg (2014)
Doctor of Medicine, Ruprecht Karl Universitat Heidelberg (2017)
Development of effective targeted cancer therapies is fundamentally limited by our molecular understanding of disease pathogenesis. Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) is a fatal malignancy of the childhood pons characterized by a unique substitution to methionine in histone H3 at lysine 27 (H3K27M) that results in globally altered epigenetic marks and oncogenic transcription. Through primary DIPG tumor characterization and isogenic oncohistone expression, we show that the same H3K27M mutation displays distinct modes of oncogenic reprogramming and establishes distinct enhancer architecture depending upon both the variant of histone H3 and the cell context in which the mutation occurs. Compared with non-malignant pediatric pontine tissue, we identify and functionally validate both shared and variant-specific pathophysiology. Altogether, we provide a powerful resource of epigenomic data in 25 primary DIPG samples and 5 rare normal pediatric pontine tissue samples, revealing clinically relevant functional distinctions previously unidentified in DIPG.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.08.030
View details for PubMedID 31588023
High-grade gliomas are lethal brain cancers whose progression is robustly regulated by neuronal activity. Activity-regulated release of growth factors promotes glioma growth, but this alone is insufficient to explain the effect that neuronal activity exerts on glioma progression. Here we show that neuron and glioma interactions include electrochemical communication through bona fide AMPA receptor-dependent neuron-glioma synapses. Neuronal activity also evokes non-synaptic activity-dependent potassium currents that are amplified by gap junction-mediated tumour interconnections, forming an electrically coupled network. Depolarization of glioma membranes assessed by in vivo optogenetics promotes proliferation, whereas pharmacologically or genetically blocking electrochemical signalling inhibits the growth of glioma xenografts and extends mouse survival. Emphasizing the positive feedback mechanisms by which gliomas increase neuronal excitability and thus activity-regulated glioma growth, human intraoperative electrocorticography demonstrates increased cortical excitability in the glioma-infiltrated brain. Together, these findings indicate that synaptic and electrical integration into neural circuits promotes glioma progression.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-019-1563-y
View details for PubMedID 31534222