The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 59: 407 - 415 (2015)

Vol 59, Issue 7-8-9

Special Issue: Ionic Messengers in Development and Cancer

Glioblastoma and calcium signaling - analysis of calcium toolbox expression

Published: 19 November 2015

Noémie Robil1,2, Fabien Petel1, Marie-Claude Kilhoffer2 and Jacques Haiech2

1 Programme Cartes d’Identité des Tumeurs (CIT), Ligue Nationale contre le Cancer, Paris, France and 2 Laboratoire d’Innovation Thérapeutique, Laboratoire d’Excellence Médalis, UMR 7200 Université de Strasbourg / CNRS, Illkirch, France


The characteristics of a cellular calcium signal (calcium signature) are determined, at least partly, by the expression of a subset of genes encoding proteins involved in calcium entry, calcium uptake and calcium modulation. Our aim in the present work was to characterize the set of genes involved in calcium signal generation that are differentially expressed in normal brain tissues versus brain tumor and/or glioma stem cells. Public datasets were analyzed according to a four step methodology consisting of: 1. detecting the outliers by using principal component analysis of the whole transcriptome; 2. building a calcium toolbox composed of 260 genes involved in the generation and modulation of the calcium signal; 3. analyzing the calcium toolbox transcriptome of different human brain areas and 4. detecting genes from the calcium toolbox preferentially expressed in tumor tissues or tumor cells compared to normal brain tissues. Our approach was validated on normal brain tissue. Tumor sample analysis allowed us to disclose a set of eighteen genes characteristic of glioblastoma tissues or glioma stem cells. Interpreting the set of genes highlighted in the study led us to propose that i) the mechanism of store operated calcium entry is strongly perturbed in cancer cells and tissues, ii) the process of calcium reuptake into mitochondria is more important in cancer cells and tissues than in their normal counterparts and iii) these two mechanisms may be coupled in at least one subgroup of the glioblastoma stem cells.


calcium signal, glioblastoma, cancer stem cell, calcium toolbox

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