OTX2 directly activates cell cycle genes and inhibits differentiation in medulloblastoma cells

Jens Bunt, Nancy E. Hasselt, Danny A. Zwijnenburg, Mohamed Hamdi, Jan Koster, Rogier Versteeg, Marcel Kool

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The transcription factor OTX2 has been implicated as an oncogene in medulloblastoma, which is the most common malignant brain tumor in children. It is highly expressed in most medulloblastomas and amplified in a subset of them. To study the role OTX2 has in medulloblastoma we investigated the downstream pathway of OTX2. We generated D425 medulloblastoma cells in which endogenous OTX2 can be silenced by inducible shRNA. Silencing of OTX2 strongly inhibited cell proliferation and resulted in a neuronal-like differentiation. Expression profiling of time courses after silencing showed a progressive change in gene expression for many cellular processes. Downregulated genes were highly enriched for cell cycle and visual perception genes, while upregulated genes were enriched for genes involved in development and differentiation. This shift is reminiscent of expression changes described during normal cerebellum development where proliferating granule progenitor cells have high OTX2 expression, which diminishes when these cells exit the cell cycle and start to differentiate. ChIP-on-chip analyses of OTX2 in D425 cells identified cell cycle and perception genes as direct OTX2 targets, while regulation of most differentiation genes appeared to be indirect. The expression of many directly regulated genes correlated to OTX2 expression in primary tumors, suggesting the in vivo relevance of these genes and their potential as targets for therapeutic intervention. These analyses provide more insight in the molecular network of OTX2, demonstrating that OTX2 is essential in medulloblastoma and directly drives proliferation by regulation of cell cycle genes. Copyright © 2011 UICC.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational journal of cancer
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • OTX2
  • chromatin
  • expression profiling
  • immunoprecipitation
  • medulloblastoma


Dive into the research topics of 'OTX2 directly activates cell cycle genes and inhibits differentiation in medulloblastoma cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this