Genomic and Transcriptomic Analyses Reveals ZNF124 as a Critical Regulator in Highly Aggressive Medulloblastomas

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Zaili Luo, Xinran Dong, Jianzhong Yu, Yong Xia, Kalen P. Berry, Rohit Rao, Lingli Xu, Ping Xue, Tong Chen, Yifeng Lin, Jiyang Yu, Guoying Huang, Hao Li, Wenhao Zhou, and Q. Richard Lu3


Medulloblastoma (MB) is the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor, however, the mechanisms underlying tumorigenesis in different MB subgroups remain incompletely understood. Although previous studies of MB predisposition have been conducted in tertiary referral centers primarily in Caucasian cohorts, it is not unclear clear whether there exist population-specific genetic alterations in MBs. In this study, we investigated the contribution of genomic and transcriptomic alterations to the risk of malignant MB in the Chinese population (designated as the Asian cohort). We analyze the genomic and transcriptomic alterations of the Asian MB cohort by using a combination of whole-exome sequencing (WES) and RNA-deep-sequencing. In addition, we integrate publicly available data with the Asian MB cohort and identify a subset of potential MB-driving genes specifically enriched in each of the MB subgroups. We further characterize a newly identified group-3-enriched transcriptional regulator, ZNF124, and demonstrate that ZNF124 is critical for the growth of the most aggressive group-3 MB cells. Together, our analyses indicate conserved yet distinct genetic alterations and gene expression patterns of MBs between different ethnic groups. Our studies further provide an important resource for identifying potential tumor-driving factors in MBs, enhancing our understanding of the disease process for developing ethnically targeted therapies in patients with MB.