Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most aggressive and lethal brain tumor and, despite aggressive surgery and adjuvant radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy, the prognosis remains invariantly poor. As for most of solid and hematological malignancies, it was demonstrated that the bulk of tumor cells in GBM is generated by a rare fraction of self-renewing, multipotent cancer stem cells (CSCs) and the persistence of CSCs within the tumor mass is considered the main determinant of GBM development, progression, recurrence and radio- or chemoresistance. Thus, one of the main goals of current research is to identify specific biological mechanisms or intracellular pathways of CSCs whose pharmacological targeting might affect their survival and proliferation. In particular, little is known about the possibility that the molecular mechanisms underlying cell-cycle control in GBM CSCs are endowed with specific and unique features as compared with normal cells. Our study is based on the observation that GBM cells express higher levels of chloride intracellular channel 1 (CLIC1) as compared to nonmalignant brain cells and that in CSCs CLIC1 is mainly localized in the membrane forming an active channel. Conversely, in physiological conditions CLIC1 is mainly a cytoplasmic protein only transiently translocating to the membrane. We recently showed that the different level of activity of CLIC1 in CSCs and normal mesenchymal stem cells confers CLIC1-targeting drugs (for example the biguanide metformin) selective cytotoxicity toward tumor cells. Here we report, that in response to stress conditions, CLIC1 increases the probability to modify its structure going from a cytoplasmic hydrophilic form to a transmembrane conformation. Once in the membrane, CLIC1 acts as a chloride permeability, participating, together with NADPH oxidase, to the generation of a chronic state of oxidative stress that favor the transition between G1 and S phase. The peculiarity of CLIC1 exposure on the external face of the GMB CSC plasma membrane support the idea that this protein could represent a main determinant of the cell cycle progression in this tumor cell subpopulation and thus an accessible and relevant pharmacological target to eradicate CSCs in GBM.

Note: This abstract was not presented at the meeting.

Citation Format: Ivan Verduci, Valentina Carlini, Federica M. Raciti, Matteo Conti, Federica Barbieri, Tullio Florio, Michele Mazzanti. CLIC1 membrane insertion is a pivotal regulator of glioblastoma stem cell G1-S transition by promoting an increase of chloride permeability [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2017; 2017 Apr 1-5; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2017;77(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 304. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2017-304