An extracellular matrix such as collagen is an essential component of the tumor microenvironment. Collagen alpha-2(I) chain (COL1A2) is a chain of type I collagen whose triple helix comprises two alpha-1 chains and one alpha-2 chain. The authors’ proteomics data showed that COL1A2 is significantly higher in the blood of patients with glioblastoma (GBM) compared with healthy controls. COL1A2 has many different functions in various types of cancers. However, the functions of COL1A2 in GBM are poorly understood. In this study, the authors analyzed the functions of COL1A2 and its signaling pathways in GBM.
Surgical specimens and GBM cell lines (T98, U87, and U251) were used. The expression level of COL1A2 was examined using GBM tissues and normal brain tissues by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. The clinical significance of these levels was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier analysis. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) and small hairpin RNA of COL1A2 were transfected into GBM cell lines to investigate the function of COL1A2 in vitro and in vivo. Flow cytometry was introduced to analyze the alteration of cell cycles. Western blot and immunohistochemistry were performed to analyze the underlying mechanisms.
The expression level of COL1A2 was upregulated in GBM compared with normal brain tissues. A higher expression of COL1A2 was correlated with poor progression-free survival and overall survival. COL1A2 inhibition significantly suppressed cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo, likely due to G1 arrest. The invasion ability was notably deteriorated by inhibiting COL1A2. Cyclin D1, cyclin-dependent kinase 1, and cyclin-dependent kinase 4, which are involved in the cell cycle, were all downregulated after blockade of COL1A2 in vitro and in vivo. Phosphoinositide 3-kinase inhibitor reduced the expression of COL1A2. Although downregulation of COL1A2 decreased the protein kinase B (Akt) phosphorylation, Akt activator can phosphorylate Akt in siRNA-treated cells. This finding suggests that Akt phosphorylation is partially dependent on COL1A2.
COL1A2 plays an important role in driving GBM progression. COL1A2 inhibition attenuated GBM proliferation by promoting cell cycle arrest, indicating that COL1A2 could be a promising therapeutic target for GBM treatment.