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Conversion of androgen receptor signaling from a growth suppressor in normal prostate epithelial cells to an oncogene in prostate cancer cells involves a gain of function in c-Myc regulation.

International journal of biological sciences (2014-06-21)
Donald J Vander Griend, Ivan V Litvinov, John T Isaacs
ABSTRACT

In normal prostate, androgen-dependent androgen receptor (AR) signaling within prostate stromal cells induces their secretion of paracrine factors, termed "andromedins" which stimulate growth of the epithelial cells. The present studies demonstrate that androgen-dependent andromedin-driven growth stimulation is counter-balanced by androgen-induced AR signaling within normal adult prostate epithelial cells resulting in terminal G0 growth arrest coupled with terminal differentiation into ΔNp63-negative, PSA-expressing secretory luminal cells. This cell autonomous AR-driven terminal differentiation requires DNA-binding of the AR protein, is associated with decreases in c-Myc m-RNA and protein, are coupled with increases in p21, p27, and SKP-2 protein expression, and does not require functional p53. These changes result in down-regulation of Cyclin D1 protein and RB phosphoryation. shRNA knockdown documents that neither RB, p21, p27 alone or in combination are required for such AR-induced G0 growth arrest. Transgenic expression of a constitutive vector to prevent c-Myc down-regulation overrides AR-mediated growth arrest in normal prostate epithelial cells, which documents that AR-induced c-Myc down-regulation is critical in terminal growth arrest of normal prostate epithelial cells. In contrast, in prostate cancer cells, androgen-induced AR signaling paradoxically up-regulates c-Myc expression and stimulates growth as documented by inhibition of both of these responses following exposure to the AR antagonist, bicalutamide. These data document that AR signaling is converted from a growth suppressor in normal prostate epithelial cells to an oncogene in prostate cancer cells during prostatic carcinogenesis and that this conversion involves a gain of function for regulation of c-Myc expression.

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