Development of a Cx46 Targeting Strategy for Cancer Stem Cells
46 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2018 Sneak Peek Status: PublishedMore...
Gap junction-mediated cell-cell communication enables tumor cells to synchronize the execution of complex processes. Despite the connexin family of gap junction proteins being considered tumor suppressors, we previously found that glioblastoma cancer stem cells (CSCs) express higher levels of Cx46 compared to non-stem tumor cells, and this was necessary and sufficient for CSC maintenance. To develop a Cx46 targeting strategy, we utilized point mutants to disrupt specific functions of Cx46 and found that gap junction coupling was the critical function of Cx46 for CSCs. Based on this finding, we screened a clinically relevant library of small molecules and identified clofazimine as an inhibitor of Cx46-specific cell-cell communication. Clofazimine attenuated proliferation, self-renewal, and tumor growth and synergized with temozolomide to induce apoptosis. These data suggest that combining clofazimine with standard-of-care therapies may target glioblastoma CSCs. Furthermore, these results demonstrate the importance of targeting cell-cell communication as an anti-cancer therapy.
Keywords: Glioblastoma, Cancer Stem Cells, Connexin, Gap Junction, Drug Repurposing
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