Introduction of germline mutations into tumor suppressor genes and in mice is sufficient to induce development of various grades of astrocytomas (Reilly et al., 2000). The PTEN/NF1/RTK pathway controls cell growth and involves RTKs such as EGFR and PDGFR and their downstream cascade proteins that promote cell growth (e.g., RAS, MAPK, and PI3K). brain tumor subtypes, affording insights into molecular and lineage-specific vulnerabilities for treatment stratification. This review discusses our current understanding of tumor cells of origin, heterogeneity, recurring genetic and epigenetic alterations, oncogenic drivers and signaling pathways for adult glioblastomas, pediatric high-grade gliomas, and medulloblastomas, the genetically heterogeneous groups of malignant brain tumors. in adult mice led to high-grade astrocytoma formation in or contiguous to the adult proliferative PF-04971729 niches in SVZ (as expected from the ability of NSCs to form gliomas) as well as in non-proliferative zones (Chow et al., 2011). GFAP-expressing astrocytes could be the cells of origin in these zones. In addition, a recent study of astrocyte diversity in the adult brain suggests that a subpopulation of astrocytes is the malignant analog of glioma (Lin et al., 2017). Oligodendrocyte precursor cells: OPCs are the most abundant cycling cell population of the adult central nervous system (Dawson et al., 2003; Imamoto et al., 1978) and represent the main pool of proliferative progenitor cells (~ 70%) in the normal adult rodent brain (Dawson et al., 2003; Dimou et al., 2008). Almost all mitotic cells co-express the OPC markers OLIG2 or NG2 in the human hippocampus (Geha et al., 2010). Their prevalence and mitotic characteristics throughout brain development make them possible cells of origin in brain tumorigenesis (Physique 1A). OPCs can be transformed and form malignant gliomas through overexpression of PDGF, the mitogen for OPCs (Dai, 2001; Lindberg et al., 2009; Uhrbom et al., 1998). Inactivation of p53 and Nf1 specifically in adult OPCs directed by NG2-CreER gives rise to malignant gliomas. (Galvao et al., 2014). Similarly, deletion of in the NG2-expressing OPCs in adult mice prospects to GMB formation, even though tumors are more restricted to the ventral brain regions (Alcantara Llaguno et al., 2015). In human brain tumors, OLIG2 is present, to numerous extents, in all grades of pediatric and adult diffuse gliomas including astrocytomas, oligodendrogliomas, and GBMs (Ligon et al., 2004; Lu et al., 2001; Otero et al., 2011). OLIG2, an essential transcription factor for OPC specification during central nervous system development, is usually expressed in OPCs and their primitive progenitors and controls the OPC-astrocyte fate switch in the developing brain (Lu et al., 2002; Takebayashi et al., 2002; Zhang et al., 2016b; Zhou and Anderson, 2002; COL18A1 Zhu et al., 2012). Notably, we as well as others showed that a large populace of OLIG2+ cells in human gliomas, particularly proneural GBMs, expresses the proliferative marker Ki67 and the stem-cell marker CD133, suggesting that proliferative OLIG2+ cells are tumor-propagating cells (Ligon et al., 2007; Lu et al., 2016; Singh et al., 2016). Strikingly, mosaic analysis with double markers (MADM) at a single-cell level revealed a critical role of OPCs in proliferation and growth of glioma cells (Zong et al., 2005). Introduction PF-04971729 of glioma-initiating mutations in in NSCs results in an growth of OPC-like cells rather than proliferation of NSCs themselves prior to malignancy (Liu et al., 2011), suggesting that OPCs are a cell of origin, or transit-amplifying cells, for this model of glioma even when the initial mutations are in NSCs. In addition, in the OPC-expressing NG2-Cre-driven MADM, deletion initiated in OPCs results PF-04971729 reactivation and subsequent growth of mutant OPCs prior to their malignant transformation (Liu et al., 2011), suggesting that OPCs themselves can be directly transformed into malignant tumor cells likely through step-wise genetic and epigenetic reprogramming. Recent single-cell transcriptomics analyses of different human gliomas with unique driver mutations, including.