Targeting dysregulated nuclear proteins androgen receptor and enhancer of zeste homolog 2: Clinical implication and mechanism underline

Tai-Lung Cha, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Cancer is the most devastating disease that has tremendous impacts on public health. Many efforts have been devoted to fighting cancer through either translational or basic researches for years. Nowadays, it emerges the importance to converge these two research directions and complement to each other for battling with cancer. Thus, our study aims at both translational and basic research directions. The first goal of our study is focus on translational research to search for new agents targeting prevention and therapy of advanced prostate cancer. Hormone refractory prostate cancer is incurable and lethal. Androgen receptor (AR) mediates androgen's effect not only on the tumor initiation but also plays the major role in the relapse transition of prostate cancer. Here we demonstrate that emodin, a natural compound, can directly target AR to suppress prostate cancer cell growth in vitro and prolong the survival of C3(1)/SV40 transgenic mice in vivo. Emodin treatment resulted in repressing androgen-dependent transactivation of AR by inhibiting AR nuclear translocation. Emodin decreased the association of AR and heat shock protein 90 and increased the association of AR and MDM2, which in turn, induces AR degradation through a proteasome-mediated pathway in a ligand independent manner. Our work indicates a new mechanism for the emodin-mediated anticancer effect and justifies further investigation of emodin as a therapeutic and preventive agent for prostate cancer. The second goal of our study is try to elucidate the fundamental tumor biology of cancer progression then provide the rationale to develop more efficient therapeutic strategy. Enhancer of zeste homologue 2 (EZH2) plays an important role in many biological processes through its intrinsic methyltransferase activity to trimethylate lysine 27 in histone H3. Although overexpression of EZH2 has been shown to be involved in cancer progression, the detailed mechanisms are elusive. Here, we show that Akt phosphorylates EZH2 at serine 21 and suppresses its methyltransferase activity by impeding the binding to its substrate histone H3, resulting in a decrease of lysine 27 trimethylation and derepression of silenced genes, thus promotes cell proliferation and tumorigenicity. Our results also show that histone methylation is not permanent but regulated in a dynamic manner and that the Akt signaling pathway is involved in the regulation of this epigenetic modification through phosphorylation of EZH2, thus contributing to oncogenic processes.

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Recommended Citation

Cha, Tai-Lung, "Targeting dysregulated nuclear proteins androgen receptor and enhancer of zeste homolog 2: Clinical implication and mechanism underline" (2005). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3180667.