Dissecting the role of zyxin as a mediator of aggressiveness in Ewing sarcoma

Balestra, Tommaso (2021) Dissecting the role of zyxin as a mediator of aggressiveness in Ewing sarcoma, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Oncologia, ematologia e patologia, 33 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/9636.
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Zyxin is a phosphoprotein localized at the focal adhesions and on the actin stress fibres, where it regulates the cytoskeleton organization. In addition, zyxin can shift into the nucleus and modulates the gene expression, affecting key cellular processes. Consequently, zyxin is as a crucial factor in the malignancy of several cancers, like Ewing sarcoma (EWS). EWS is a rare tumour of the bones, affecting children and adolescents. The main features of EWS are the presence of a chimeric transcriptional factor, EWS-FLI1 and the high expression of CD99, a glycoprotein necessary for the maintenance of the malignant phenotype. Triggering of CD99 with specific antibodies causes massive cell death, an effect that requires zyxin presence. In EWS zyxin is repressed by EWS-FLI1 and its forced re-expression counteracts the malignant phenotype. In this work we decided to deepen our knowledge on how zyxin affects EWS malignancy. We proved that zyxin is a negative regulator of cell migration, survival and growth in anchorage-independent conditions, confirming the tumour suppressor role of zyxin. Then we focused on the relation between CD99 and zyxin. Loss of function of CD99, by engagement with specific antibodies or use of shRNA, increases zyxin levels and promotes its nuclear translocation. Here, we observed that zyxin impairs the transcriptional activity of the Glioma associated oncogene 1 (Gli1), a member of the Hedgehog signalling pathway, which has a relevant oncogenic function in EWS. To support these evidences, we also reported that the loss of function of CD99 inhibits, trough zyxin mediation, the expression of Gli1 up-regulated target genes, such as NKX2-2, PTCH1 and cyclins, whilst enhances the expression of its down-regulated target GAS1. In conclusion, we presented a more accurate depiction of zyxin role in EWS, which in the future could be further developed in hope to offer new therapeutic approaches.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Balestra, Tommaso
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Zyxin; Ewing sarcoma; CD99; monoclonal antibodies; Gli1; Hedgehog Pathway
Data di discussione
19 Marzo 2021

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