Background: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) contribute towards disease aggressiveness and drug resistance. Specific identification of CSC maintenance genes and targeting can improve the efficiency of currently available treatment modalities. Pancreatic differentiation 2 (PD2) has a major role in the self-renewal of mouse embryonic stem cells. In the present study, we investigated the role of PD2 in pancreatic CSCs.Methods:Characterisation of CSCs and non-CSCs from mouse models, pancreatic cancer cells and human tissues by CSC and self-renewal marker analysis using confocal assay. Effect of PD2 knockdown in CSCs (after gemcitabine treatment) was studied by immunoblot and apoptosis assays.Results:A subpopulation of cells displayed PD2 overexpression in mouse (Kras G12D; Pdx1-Cre and Kras G12D; Trp53 R172H/+; Pdx1-Cre) and human pancreatic tumours, which co-express CSC markers. Cancer stem cells exhibited elevated expression of PD2 and self-renewal markers, such as Oct3/4, Shh and β-catenin. Gemcitabine treatment maintained the CSC population with simultaneous maintenance of PD2 and CSC marker expression. Knockdown of PD2 in CSCs resulted in reduced viability of cells and enhanced apoptosis along with abrogated expression of CD133 and MDR2.Conclusions:Our results suggest that PD2 is a novel CSC maintenance protein, loss of which renders the CSCs more susceptible to drug-induced cell death.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research