Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most aggressive brain tumor in adults. In addition to genetic causes, the tumor microenvironment (TME), including stiffening of the extracellular matrix (ECM), is a main driver of GBM progression. Mechano-transduction and the unfolded protein response (UPR) are essential for tumor-cell adaptation to harsh TME conditions. Here, we studied the effect of a variable stiff ECM on the morphology and malignant properties of GBM stem cells (GSCs) and, moreover, examined the possible involvement of the UPR sensor PERK herein. For this, stiffness-tunable human blood plasma (HBP)/alginate hydrogels were generated to mimic ECM stiffening. GSCs showed stiffness-dependent adaptation characterized by elongated morphology, increased proliferation, and motility which was accompanied by F-Actin cytoskeletal remodeling. Interestingly, in PERK-deficient GSCs, stiffness adaptation was severely impaired, which was evidenced by low F-Actin levels, the absence of F-Actin remodeling, and decreased cell proliferation and migration. This impairment could be linked with Filamin-A (FLN-A) expression, a known interactor of PERK, which was strongly reduced in PERK-deficient GSCs. In conclusion, we identified a novel PERK/FLNA/F-Actin mechano-adaptive mechanism and found a new function for PERK in the cellular adaptation to ECM stiffening.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's19
TijdschriftInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Nummer van het tijdschrift12
StatusPublished - 6-jun.-2022

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