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Transcriptomics-Based Phenotypic Screening Supports Drug Discovery in Human Glioblastoma Cells.

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Shapovalov, Vladimir 
Pruteanu, Lavinia-Lorena 


We have used three established human glioblastoma (GBM) cell lines-U87MG, A172, and T98G-as cellular systems to examine the plasticity of the drug-induced GBM cell phenotype, focusing on two clinical drugs, the phosphodiesterase PDE10A inhibitor Mardepodect and the multi-kinase inhibitor Regorafenib, using genome-wide drug-induced gene expression (DIGEX) to examine the drug response. Both drugs upregulate genes encoding specific growth factors, transcription factors, cellular signaling molecules, and cell surface proteins, while downregulating a broad range of targetable cell cycle and apoptosis-associated genes. A few upregulated genes encode therapeutic targets already addressed by FDA approved drugs, but the majority encode targets for which there are no approved drugs. Amongst the latter, we identify many novel druggable targets that could qualify for chemistry-led drug discovery campaigns. We also observe several highly upregulated transmembrane proteins suitable for combined drug, immunotherapy, and RNA vaccine approaches. DIGEX is a powerful way of visualizing the complex drug response networks emerging during GBM drug treatment, defining a phenotypic landscape which offers many new diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities. Nevertheless, the extreme heterogeneity we observe within drug-treated cells using this technique suggests that effective pan-GBM drug treatment will remain a significant challenge for many years to come.



Tumor antigens, Glioblastoma, drug targets, Regorafenib, Mardepodect, Drug-inducible Gene Expression

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Brain Tumour Charity (GN-000429)
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (727892)