Research Papers:

Neuropilin-1 is a glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor receptor in glioblastoma

Shen Sun, Yu Lei, Qi Li, Yue Wu, Lin Zhang, Pei-Pei Mu, Guang-Quan Ji, Chuan-Xi Tang, Yu-Qian Wang, Jian Gao, Jin Gao, Li Li, Lang Zhuo, Yun-Qing Li and Dian-Shuai Gao _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:74019-74035. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18630

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Shen Sun1,2,3,*, Yu Lei2,4,*, Qi Li2, Yue Wu2, Lin Zhang2, Pei-Pei Mu2, Guang-Quan Ji2, Chuan-Xi Tang2, Yu-Qian Wang2, Jian Gao5, Jin Gao2, Li Li6, Lang Zhuo7, Yun-Qing Li1 and Dian-Shuai Gao1,2

1Department of Anatomy and Histology, The Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, Shanxi, China

2Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Xuzhou Key Laboratory of Neurobiology, Jiangsu Key Laboratory of New Drug Research and Clinical Pharmacy, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China

3Department of Histology and Embryology, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China

4Department of Neurobiology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University, Shanghai, China

5Jiangsu Key Laboratory of New Drug Research and Clinical Pharmacy, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China

6Department of Pathophysiology, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China

7Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Xuzhou Medical University, Xuzhou, Jiangsu, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Dian-Shuai Gao, email: [email protected]

Keywords: glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, glioblastoma, membrane receptor, neuropilin-1, cell proliferation

Received: February 24, 2017     Accepted: May 12, 2017     Published: June 27, 2017


The aim of this study was to identify the receptor for glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). After GST pull-down assays, membrane proteins purified from C6 rat glioma cells were subjected to liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The differentially expressed proteins were annotated using Gene Ontology, and neuropilin-1 (NRP1) was identified as the putative GDNF receptor in glioma. NRP1 was more highly expressed in human GBM brains and C6 rat glioma cells than in normal human brains or primary rat astrocytes. Immunofluorescence staining showed that NRP1 was recruited to the membrane by GDNF, and NRP1 co-immunoprecipitated with GDNF. Using the NRP1 and GDNF protein structures to assess molecular docking in the ZDOCK server and visualization with the PyMOL Molecular Graphics System revealed 8 H-bonds and stable positive and negative electrostatic interactions between NRP1 and GDNF. RNAi knockdown of NRP1 reduced proliferation of C6 glioma cells when stimulated with GDNF. NRP1 was an independent risk factor for both survival and recurrence in GBM patients. High NRP1 mRNA expression correlated with shorter OS and DFS (OS: χ2=4.6720, P=0.0307; DFS: χ2=11.013, P=0.0009). NRP1 is thus a GDNF receptor in glioma cells and a potential therapeutic target.

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