Suppression of STAT3 NH2-terminal domain chemosensitizes medulloblastoma cells by activation of protein inhibitor of activated STAT3 via de-repression by microRNA-21

Sutapa Ray, Donald W Coulter, Shawn D. Gray, Jason A. Sughroue, Shrabasti Roychoudhury, Erin M. Mcintyre, Nagendra K. Chaturvedi, Kishor K Bhakat, Shantaram S Joshi, Timothy R McGuire, John G Sharp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Medulloblastoma (MB) is a malignant pediatric brain tumor with poor prognosis. Signal transducers and activators of transcription-3 (STAT3) is constitutively activated in MB where it functions as an oncoprotein, mediating cancer progression and metastasis. Here, we have delineated the functional role of activated STAT3 in MB, by using a cell permeable STAT3-NH2 terminal domain inhibitor (S3-NTDi) that specifically perturbs the structure/function of STAT3. We have implemented several biochemical experiments using human MB tumor microarray (TMA) and pediatric MB cell lines, derived from high-risk SHH-TP53-mutated and MYC-amplified Non-WNT/SHH tumors. Treatment of MB cells with S3-NTDi leads to growth inhibition, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis. S3-NTDi downregulated expression of STAT3 target genes, delayed migration of MB cells, attenuated epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) marker expressions and reduced cancer stem-cell associated protein expressions in MB-spheres. To elucidate mechanisms, we showed that S3-NTDi induce expression of pro-apoptotic gene, C/EBP-homologous protein (CHOP), and decrease association of STAT3 to the proximal promoter of CCND1 and BCL2. Of note, S3-NTDi downregulated microRNA-21, which in turn, de-repressed Protein Inhibitor of Activated STAT3 (PIAS3), a negative regulator of STAT3 signaling pathway. Furthermore, combination therapy with S3-NTDi and cisplatin significantly decreased highly aggressive MYC-amplified MB cell growth and induced apoptosis by downregulating STAT3 regulated proliferation and anti-apoptotic gene expression. Together, our results revealed an important role of STAT3 in regulating MB pathogenesis. Disruption of this pathway with S3-NTDi, therefore, may serves as a promising candidate for targeted MB therapy by enhancing chemosensitivity of MB cells and potentially improving outcomes in high-risk patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-548
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • MYC
  • PIAS3
  • STAT3
  • medulloblastoma
  • miR-21

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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