Musashi1 in neurogenesis and brain tumor development

Our lab is interested in RNA-binding proteins acting at the intersection neurogenesis-brain tumor development. For the last ten years, the major highlight of our work has been the stem cell protein Musashi1 (Msi1) and its participation in medulloblastoma and glioblastoma. We showed that Musashi1 is highly expressed in the high risk medulloblastoma sub-groups 3 and 4 and linked to poor prognosis. We have established that Msi1 regulates multiple cancer-relevant processes including apoptosis, cell cycle, proliferation, migration, invasion and adhesion via a complex network of target genes. Msi1 expression levels influence both radio- and chemo-resistance and its function is required for the survival of tumor initiating cells. Convinced that Msi1 is a critical oncogenic factor, we have recently developed an inhibitor that blocks Msi1 RNA binding domains. We are currently working to improve its structure and drug properties, aiming its future use in cancer therapy