Glioblastoma (GBM) is a devastating human malignancy. GBM stem-like cells (GSCs) drive tumor initiation and progression. Yet the molecular determinants defining GSCs in their native state in patients remain poorly understood. Here we used single-cell datasets and identified GSCs at the apex of the differentiation hierarchy of GBM. By reconstructing the GSCs’ regulatory network, we identified the YAP/TAZ coactivators as master regulators of this cell state, irrespectively of GBM subtypes. YAP/TAZ are required to install GSC properties in primary cells downstream of multiple oncogenic lesions and are required for tumor initiation and maintenance in vivo in different mouse and human GBM models. YAP/TAZ act as main roadblock of GSC differentiation, and their inhibition irreversibly locks differentiated GBM cells into a nontumorigenic state, preventing plasticity and regeneration of GSC-like cells. Thus, GSC identity is linked to a key molecular hub integrating genetics and microenvironmental inputs within the multifaceted biology of GBM.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research