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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 301067, 9 pages
Research Article

Biochemical Signatures of Doppel Protein in Human Astrocytomas to Support Prediction in Tumor Malignancy

1Dipartimento di Biochimica, “A. Castellani”, University of Pavia, Via Taramelli 3/b, 27100 Pavia, Italy
2Dipartimento di Genetica e Microbiologia, “A. Buzzati-Traverso”, University of Pavia, Via Ferrata 1, 27100 Pavia, Italy
3IRCCS Policlinico S. Matteo, Via Ferrata 1, 27100 Pavia, Italy
4IGM-CNR, Via Ferrata 1, 27100 Pavia, Italy
5Dipartimento di Patologia Umana e Oncologia, University of Siena, via Banchi di Sotto 55, 53100 Siena, Italy

Received 10 June 2010; Revised 9 September 2010; Accepted 17 September 2010

Academic Editor: Paul Harrison

Copyright © 2010 Paola Rognoni et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Doppel (Dpl) is a membrane-bound glycoprotein mainly expressed in the testis of adult healthy people. It is generally absent in the central nervous system, but its coding gene sequence is ectopically expressed in astrocytoma specimens and in derived cell lines. In this paper, we investigated the expression and the biochemical features of Dpl in a panel of 49 astrocytoma specimens of different WHO malignancy grades. As a result, Dpl was expressed in the majority of the investigated specimens (86%), also including low grade samples. Importantly, Dpl exhibited different cellular localizations and altered glycan moieties composition, depending on the tumor grade. Most low-grade astrocytomas (83%) showed a membrane-bound Dpl, like human healthy testis tissue, whereas the majority of high-grade astrocytomas (75%) displayed a cytosolic Dpl. Deglycosylation studies with N-glycosidase F and/or neuraminidase highlighted defective glycan moieties and an unexpected loss of sialic acid. To find associations between glial tumor progression and Dpl biochemical features, predictive bioinformatics approaches were produced. In particular, Decision tree and Nomogram analysis showed well-defined Dpl-based criteria that separately clustered low-and high-grade astrocytomas. Taken together, these findings show that in astrocytomas, Dpl undergoes different molecular processes that might constitute additional helpful tools to characterize the glial tumor progression.