, Volume 37, Issue 6, pp 1364-1371
Date: 05 Apr 2012

Controlling Cytoplasmic c-Fos Controls Tumor Growth in the Peripheral and Central Nervous System

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Some 20 years ago c-Fos was identified as a member of the AP-1 family of inducible transcription factors (Angel and Karin in Biochim Biophys Acta 1072:129–157, 1991). More recently, an additional activity was described for this protein: it associates to the endoplasmic reticulum and activates the biosynthesis of phospholipids (Bussolino et al. in FASEB J 15:556–558, 2001), (Gil et al. in Mol Biol Cell 15:1881–1894, 2004), the quantitatively most important components of cellular membranes. This latter activity of c-Fos determines the rate of membrane genesis and consequently of growth in differentiating PC12 cells (Gil et al. in Mol Biol Cell 15:1881–1894, 2004). In addition, it has been shown that c-Fos is over-expressed both in PNS and CNS tumors (Silvestre et al. in PLoS One 5(3):e9544, 2010). Herein, it is shown that c-Fos-activated phospholipid synthesis is required to support membrane genesis during the exacerbated growth characteristic of brain tumor cells. Specifically blocking c-Fos-activated phospholipid synthesis significantly reduces proliferation of tumor cells in culture. Blocking c-Fos expression also prevents tumor progression in mice intra-cranially xeno-grafted human brain tumor cells. In NPcis mice, an animal model of the human disease Neurofibromatosis Type I (Cichowski and Jacks in Cell 104:593–604, 2001), animals spontaneously develop tumors of the PNS and the CNS, provided they express c-Fos (Silvestre et al. in PLoS One 5(3):e9544, 2010). Treatment of PNS tumors with an antisense oligonucleotide that specifically blocks c-Fos expression also blocks tumor growth in vivo. These results disclose cytoplasmic c-Fos as a new target for effectively controlling brain tumor growth.