Research Papers:

NDRG4 is a novel oncogenic protein and p53 associated regulator of apoptosis in malignant meningioma cells

Rama P. Kotipatruni _, Xuan Ren, Dinesh Thotala and Jerry J. Jaboin

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:17594-17604. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.4009

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Rama P. Kotipatruni1, Xuan Ren1, Dinesh Thotala1,2, Jerry J. Jaboin1,2

1Department of Radiation Oncology, Cancer Biology Division, School of Medicine, Washington University in Saint Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

2Siteman Cancer Center, Washington University in Saint Louis, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Correspondence to:

Jerry J. Jaboin, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: meningioma, NDRG4, p53, lentiviral shRNA, mitochondrial apoptosis

Received: January 10, 2015     Accepted: May 14, 2015     Published: May 25, 2015


Aggressive meningiomas exhibit high levels of recurrence, morbidity and mortality. When surgical and radiation options are exhausted, there is need for novel molecularly-targeted therapies. We have recently identified NDRG4 overexpression in aggressive meningiomas. NDRG4 is a member of the N-Myc Downstream Regulated Gene (NDRG) family of the alpha/beta hydrolase superfamily. We have demonstrated that NDRG4 downregulation results in decreased cell proliferation, migration and invasion. In follow up to our prior studies; here we demonstrate that the predominant form of cell death following NDRG4 silencing is apoptosis, utilizing Annexin-V flow cytometry assay. We show that apoptosis caused by p53 upregulation, phosphorylation at Ser15, BAX activation, Bcl-2 and BcL-xL downregulation, mitochondrial cytochrome c release and execution of caspases following NDRG4 depletion. Sub-cellular distribution of BAX and cytochrome c indicated mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis. In addition, we carried out the fluorescence cytochemical analysis to confirm mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis by changes in mitochondrial membrane potential (Ψm), using JC-1 dye. Immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence confirmed binding of NDRG4 to p53. In addition, we demonstrate that apoptosis is mitochondrial and p53 dependent. The proapoptotic effect of p53 was verified by the results in which a small molecule compound PFT-α, an inhibitor of p53 phosphorylation, is greatly protected against targeting NDRG4 induced apoptosis. These findings bring novel insight to the roles of NDRG4 in meningioma progression. A better understanding of this pathway and its role in meningioma carcinogenesis and cell biology is promising for the development of novel therapeutic targets for the management of aggressive meningiomas.

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