Collagen I modulates growth and gene expression in prostate cancer cells

Jeffrey Allen Kiefer, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of male cancer-related deaths in the United States. Interestingly, prostate cancer preferentially metastasizes to skeletal tissue. Once in the bone microenvironment, advanced prostate cancer becomes highly resistant to therapeutic modalities. Several factors, such as extracellular matrix (ECM) components, have been implicated in the spread and propagation of prostatic carcinoma. In these studies, we have utilized the PC3 cell line, derived from a human bone metastasis, to investigate the influence of the predominant bone ECM protein, type I collagen, on prostate cancer cell proliferation and gene expression. We have also initiated the design and production of ribozymes to specific gene targets that may influence prostate cancer bone metastasis. Our results demonstrate that PC3 cells rapidly adhere and spread on collagen I to a greater degree than on fibronectin (FN) or poly-L-lysine (PLL). Flow cytometry analysis reveals the presence of the α1, α2 and α3 collagen binding integrin subunits. The use of antibody function blocking studies reveals that PC3 cells can utilize α2β 1 and α3β1 integrins to adhere to collagen I. Once plated on collagen I, the cells exhibit increased rates of proliferation compared with cells plated on FN or tissue culture plastic. Additionally, cells plated on collagen I show increased expression of proteins associated with progression through G1 phase of the cell cycle. Inhibitor studies point to a role for phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), MAP kinase (MAPK), and p70 S6 kinase in collagen I-mediated PC3 cell proliferation and cyclin D1 expression. To further characterize the effect of type I collagen on prostate cancer bone metastasis, we utilized a cDNA microarray strategy to monitor type I collagen-mediated changes in gene expression. Results of this analysis revealed a gene expression profile reflecting the increased proliferation occurring on type I collagen. Microarray analysis also revealed differences in the expression of specific gene targets that may impact on prostate cancer metastasis to bone. As a result of our studies on the interaction of prostate cancer cells and the skeletal ECM, we sought to develop novel molecular tools for future gene therapy of functional knockdown experiments. To this end, we developed a series of ribozymes directed against the α2 integrin and at osteopontin, a protein implicated in the metastasis of various cancers, including prostate. These ribozymes should facilitate the future study of the mechanism of prostate cancer cell proliferation, and disease progression occurring at sites of skeletal metastasis where a type I collagen-based environment predominates. Together these studies demonstrate the involvement of bone ECM proteins on prostate cancer cell proliferation and suggest that they may play a significant role on the growth of prostate metastases once in the bone microenvironment.

Subject Area

Cellular biology|Oncology|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Kiefer, Jeffrey Allen, "Collagen I modulates growth and gene expression in prostate cancer cells" (2001). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3004453.