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Possible effect of GABA metabolism on glioblastoma aggressiveness

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Title: Possible effect of GABA metabolism on glioblastoma aggressiveness
Author(s): Gkini, Vasiliki
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Degree program: Master's Programme in Neuroscience
Specialisation: Neuroscience
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2021
Gliomas are the most common malignant brain tumours. The most aggressive and lethal type of glioma is glioblastoma. It has a dismal prognosis, and, despite aggressive treatment, the average patient survival is 1-2 years. Although glioblastoma has a heavy impact on individuals and their families, as well as on healthcare systems, our current lack of mechanistic knowledge hinders the development of improved treatments and diagnostics. Recent studies showed that glutaminolysis, a metabolic pathway utilizing glutamine to produce α-ketoglutarate, is promoted in tumour cells, suggesting a significant role of α-ketoglutarate concentration in tumour progression. Therefore, I hypothesise that reduction of α-ketoglutarate concentration in glioblastoma might suppress glioblastoma aggressiveness. To address this hypothesis, I focus on another metabolic pathway controlling α-ketoglutarate concentration, namely the GABA metabolism. Here, I show that the expression of ABAT and GAD1, which encode rate-limiting enzymes of the GABA metabolism, is associated with the lower-grade of glioma and a better prognosis for patients. Interestingly the expression of ABAT and GAD1 negatively correlates with the expression of CD109, a glioma stemness marker. Furthermore, suppression of glioblastoma stemness by CD109 silencing induces ABAT and GAD1 expression. Taken together these results suggest that the upregulation of the GABA metabolism reduces glioblastoma stemness and proliferation. In future, I am planning to examine the effect of ABAT and GAD1 overexpression and knockdown on glioblastoma stemness and proliferation, as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms to understand how the GABA metabolism suppresses the glioblastoma progression.
Keyword(s): Glioblastoma GABA shunt α-ketoglutarate ABAT GAD1 CD109

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