G-protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRK) regulate the function of G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCR). Previously, we found that GPCR (CXCR4)-mediated astrocytoma growth was dependent upon abnormally sustained CXCR4 signaling and was correlated with decreased GRK-mediated receptor phosphorylation. As CXCR4 has also been implicated in the stimulation of high-grade glioma growth, we sought to determine whether dysregulation of GRK expression and/or function might also be present in high-grade gliomas. In an analysis of data from The Cancer Genome Atlas, we found that GRK3 expression is frequently decreased in glioblastoma (GBM) of the classical subtype, which possesses signature amplification or mutational activation of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor. We tested the correlation between GRK3 expression and GBM subtypes, as well as the relationship between the activation of the EGF and other growth factor receptor pathways and GRK expression. In analyses of primary GBM tissue and RNA specimens, we found that GRK3 expression is correlated with established criteria for GBM subtyping including expression of EGF receptor, platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)α, NF1, PTEN, CDKN2A, and neurofilament. We also found that established drivers of gliomagenesis, the EGF, PDGF, and TGF-β pathways, all regulate GRK expression. Coculture experiments, designed to mimic critical interactions between tumor and brain microvascular endothelial cells, showed that specifically increasing GRK3 expression reduced the trophic effect of endothelial cells on tumor cells. Together, these experiments show that GRK3 is a negative regulator of cell growth whose expression is preferentially reduced in GBM of the classical subtype as a consequence of activity in primary gliomagenic pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-166
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


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