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Cancer-associated HIF-2α impacts trunk neural crest stemness

Mohlin S, Persson CU, Fredlund E, Monni E, Lindvall JM, Kokaia Z, Hammarlund E, Bronner ME
bioRxiv. 2020;[preprint] doi:10.1101/2020.01.22.915199
The neural crest is a stem cell population that gives rise to sympathetic ganglia, the cell type of origin of neuroblastoma. Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF)-2α is associated with high risk neuroblastoma, however, little is known about its role in normal neural crest development. To address this important question, here we show that HIF-2α is expressed in trunk neural crest cells of human, murine and avian embryos. Modulating HIF-2α in vivo not only causes developmental delays but also induces proliferation and stemness of neural crest cells while altering the number of cells migrating ventrally to sympathoadrenal sites. Transcriptome changes after loss of HIF-2α reflect the in vivo phenotype. The results suggest that expression levels of HIF-2α must be strictly controlled and abnormal levels increase stemness and may promote metastasis. Our findings help elucidate the role of HIF-2α during normal development with implications also in tumor initiation at the onset of neuroblastoma.
Organism or Cell Type: 
Gallus gallus (chick)
Delivery Method: 
injection then electroporation