Transcriptional regulators and regulatory pathways involved in prostate gland adaptation to a hypoandrogen environment
GENETICS AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
Authors: Nishan, Umar; da Rosa-Ribeiro, Rafaela; Damas-Souza, Danilo Marchete; Barbosa, Guilherme Oliveira; Carvalho, Hernandes F.
Anti-androgen therapies, including orchiectomy, are effective at promoting prostate cancer remission, but are followed by progression to the more aggressive castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Castration promotes gland and tumor shrinkage. However, prostate adaptation to androgen deprivation involves striking parallel events, all requiring changes in gene expression. We hypothesized that transcription factors (TF) and other transcription-related genes are needed to orchestrate those changes. In this work, downstream analysis using bioinformatic tools and published microarray data allowed us to identify sixty transcriptional regulators (including 10 TF) and to integrate their function in physiologically relevant networks. Functional associations revealed a connection between Arnt, Bhlhe41 and Dbp circadian rhythm genes with the Ar circuitry and a small gene network centered in Pex14, which might indicate a previously unanticipated metabolic shift. We have also identified human homologs and mapped the corresponding genes to human chromosome regions commonly affected in prostate cancer, with particular attention to the PTEN/HHEX/MXI1 cluster at 10q23-25 (frequently deleted in PCa) and to MAPK1 at 22q11.21 (delete in intermediate risk but not in high risk PCa). Twenty genes were found mutated or with copy number alterations in at least five percent of three cancer cohorts and six of them (PHOX2A, NFYC, EST2, EIF2S1, SSRP1 and PARP1) associated with impacted patient survival. These changes are specific to the adaptation to the hypoandrogen environment and seem important for the progression to CRPC when mutated.
Oncogenic RAC1 and NRAS drive resistance to endoplasmic reticulum stress through MEK/ERK signalling
Authors: Bright, Michael D.; Clarke, Paul A.; Workman, Paul; Davies, Faith E.
Cancer cells are able to survive under conditions that cause endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER-stress), and can adapt to this stress by upregulating cell-survival signalling pathways and down-regulating apoptotic pathways. The cellular response to ER-stress is controlled by the unfolded protein response (UPR). Small Rho family GTPases are linked to many cell responses including cell growth and apoptosis. In this study, we investigate the function of small GTPases in cell survival under ER-stress. Using siRNA screening we identify that RAC1 promotes cell survival under ER-stress in cells with an oncogenic N92I RAC1 mutation. We uncover a novel connection between the UPR and N92I RAC1, whereby RAC1 attenuates phosphorylation of EIF2S1 under ER-stress and drives over-expression of ATF4 in basal conditions. Interestingly, the UPR connection does not drive resistance to ER-stress, as knockdown of ATF4 did not affect this. We further investigate cancer-associated kinase signalling pathways and show that RAC1 knockdown reduces the activity of AKT and ERK, and using a panel of clinically important kinase inhibitors, we uncover a role for MEK/ERK, but not AKT, in cell viability under ER stress. A known major activator of ERK phosphorylation in cancer is oncogenic NRAS and we show that knockdown of NRAS in cells, which bear a Q61 NRAS mutation, sensitises to ER-stress. These findings highlight a novel mechanism for resistance to ER-stress through oncogenic activation of MEK/ERK signalling by small GTPases.