Cellular Plasticity Confers Migratory and Invasive Advantages to a Population of Glioblastoma-Initiating Cells that Infiltrate Peritumoral Tissue

Patricia Ruiz-Ontanon, Jose L. Orgaz, Beatriz Aldaz, Alberto Elosegui-Artola, Juan Martino, Maria T. Berciano, Juan A. Montero, Lara Grande, Lorena Nogueira, Santiago Diaz-Moralli, Azucena Esparis-Ogando, Alfonso Vazquez-Barquero, Miguel Lafarga, Atanasio Pandiella, Marta Cascante, Victor Segura, Jose A. Martinez-Climent, Vicky Sanz Moreno, Jose L. Fernandez-Luna*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


Glioblastoma (GBM) is associated with infiltration of peritumoral (PT) parenchyma by isolated tumor cells that leads to tumor regrowth. Recently, GBM stem-like or initiating cells (GICs) have been identified in the PT area, but whether these GICs have enhanced migratory and invasive capabilities compared with GICs from the tumor mass (TM) is presently unknown. We isolated GICs from the infiltrated PT tissue and the TM of three patients and found that PT cells have an advantage over TM cells in two-dimensional and three-dimensional migration and invasion assays. Interestingly, PT cells display a high plasticity in protrusion formation and cell shape and their migration is insensitive to substrate stiffness, which represent advantages to infiltrate microenvironments of different rigidity. Furthermore, mouse and chicken embryo xenografts revealed that only PT cells showed a dispersed distribution pattern, closely associated to blood vessels. Consistent with cellular plasticity, simultaneous Rac and RhoA activation are required for the enhanced invasive capacity of PT cells. Moreover, Rho GTPase signaling modulators alpha V beta 3 and p27 play key roles in GIC invasiveness. Of note, p27 is upregulated in TM cells and inhibits RhoA activity. Gene silencing of p27 increased the invasive capacity of TM GICs. Additionally, beta 3 integrin is upregulated in PT cells. Blockade of dimeric integrin alpha V beta 3, a Rac activator, reduced the invasive capacity of PT GICs in vitro and abrogated the spreading of PT cells into chicken embryos. Thus, our results describe the invasive features acquired by a unique subpopulation of GICs that infiltrate neighboring tissue.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)1075-1085
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cells
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


  • Glioblastoma-initiating cells
  • Invasion
  • Integrin alpha V beta 3


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