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Notch signaling regulates metabolic heterogeneity in glioblastoma stem cells.


Glioblastoma (GBM) stem cells (GSCs) reside in both hypoxic and vascular microenvironments within tumors. The molecular mechanisms that allow GSCs to occupy such contrasting niches are not understood. We used patient-derived GBM cultures to identify GSC subtypes with differential activation of Notch signaling, which co-exist in tumors but occupy distinct niches and match their metabolism accordingly. Multipotent GSCs with Notch pathway activation reside in perivascular niches, and are unable to entrain anaerobic glycolysis during hypoxia. In contrast, most CD133-expressing GSCs do not depend on canonical Notch signaling, populate tumors regardless of local vascularity and selectively utilize anaerobic glycolysis to expand in hypoxia. Ectopic activation of Notch signaling in CD133-expressing GSCs is sufficient to suppress anaerobic glycolysis and resistance to hypoxia. These findings demonstrate a novel role for Notch signaling in regulating GSC metabolism and suggest intratumoral GSC heterogeneity ensures metabolic adaptations to support tumor growth in diverse tumor microenvironments.

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