PloS one

Inactivation of ATM/ATR DNA damage checkpoint promotes androgen induced chromosomal instability in prostate epithelial cells.

PMID 23272087


The ATM/ATR DNA damage checkpoint functions in the maintenance of genetic stability and some missense variants of the ATM gene have been shown to confer a moderate increased risk of prostate cancer. However, whether inactivation of this checkpoint contributes directly to prostate specific cancer predisposition is still unknown. Here, we show that exposure of non-malignant prostate epithelial cells (HPr-1AR) to androgen led to activation of the ATM/ATR DNA damage response and induction of cellular senescence. Notably, knockdown of the ATM gene expression in HPr-1AR cells can promote androgen-induced TMPRSS2: ERG rearrangement, a prostate-specific chromosome translocation frequently found in prostate cancer cells. Intriguingly, unlike the non-malignant prostate epithelial cells, the ATM/ATR DNA damage checkpoint appears to be defective in prostate cancer cells, since androgen treatment only induced a partial activation of the DNA damage response. This mechanism appears to preserve androgen induced autophosphorylation of ATM and phosphorylation of H2AX, lesion processing and repair pathway yet restrain ATM/CHK1/CHK2 and p53 signaling pathway. Our findings demonstrate that ATM/ATR inactivation is a crucial step in promoting androgen-induced genomic instability and prostate carcinogenesis.