Development and characterisation of a neurogenic model of brain cancer

Paglia, Simona (2021) Development and characterisation of a neurogenic model of brain cancer, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia cellulare e molecolare, 33 Ciclo.
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Primary glioblastoma (GB), the most common and aggressive adult brain tumour, is refractory to conventional therapies and characterised by poor prognosis. GB displays striking cellular heterogeneity, with a sub-population, called Glioblastoma Stem Cells (GSCs), intrinsically resistant to therapy, hence the high rate of recurrence. Alterations of the tumour suppressor gene PTEN are prevalent in primary GBM, resulting in the inhibition of the polarity protein Lgl1 due to aPKC hyperactivation. Dysregulation of this molecular axis is one of the mechanisms involved in GSC maintenance. After demonstrating that the PTEN/aPKC/Lgl axis is conserved in Drosophila, I deregulated it in different cells populations of the nervous system in order to individuate the cells at the root of neurogenic brain cancers. This analysis identified the type II neuroblasts (NBs) as the most sensitive to alterations of this molecular axis. Type II NBs are a sub-population of Drosophila stem cells displaying a lineage similar to that of the mammalian neural stem cells. Following aPKC activation in these stem cells, I obtained an adult brain cancer model in Drosophila that summarises many phenotypic traits of human brain tumours. Fly tumours are indeed characterised by accumulation of highly proliferative immature cells and keep growing in the adult leading the affected animals to premature death. With the aim to understand the role of cell polarity disruption in this tumorigenic process I carried out a molecular characterisation and transcriptome analysis of brain cancers from our fly model. In summary, the model I built and partially characterised in this thesis work may help deepen our knowledge on human brain cancers by investigating many different aspects of this complicate disease.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Paglia, Simona
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Cancer, cancer stem cells, brain cancer, glioblastoma, Drosophila
Data di discussione
19 Ottobre 2021

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