Glioblastomas are highly aggressive brain tumors with a very poor survival rate. EEF1A2, the proto-oncogenic isoform of the EEF1A translation factor family, has been found to be overexpressed and promoting tumorigenesis in multiple cancers. Interestingly, recent studies reported reduced expression of this protein in brain tumors, drawing our attention to find the functional role and mechanism of this protein in brain tumor progression.
Using representative cell line as models, the role of EEF1A2 in cell proliferation, migration and invasion were assessed using MTS assay, scratch wound-healing assay, transwell migration and invasion assay respectively. Activation of key signaling pathways was assessed using western blots and real-time PCR. Finally, using immunohistochemistry we checked the protein levels of EEF1A2 in CNS tumors.
EEF1A2 was found to increase the proliferative, migratory and invasive properties of cell lines of both glial and neuronal origin. PI3K activation directly correlated with EEF1A2 levels. Protein levels of key EMT markers viz. Twist, Snail, and Slug were increased upon ectopic EEF1A2 expression. Furthermore, EEF1A2 was found to affect the expression levels of key inflammatory cytokines, growth factors and matrix metalloproteases. IHC analysis showed that EEF1A2 is upregulated in tumor tissues compared to normal tissue.
EEF1A2 acts as an oncogene in both neuronal and glial cells and triggers an EMT program via PI3K pathway. However, it shows enhanced expression in neuronal cells of the brain than the glial cells, which could explain the previously reported anomaly.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.