Androgen signaling is a confounding factor for ?-catenin-mediated prostate tumorigenesis.
ABSTRACT: Emerging evidence has demonstrated the critical roles for both androgen and Wnt pathways in prostate tumorigenesis. A recent integrative genomic analysis of human prostate cancers (PCas) has revealed a unique enrichment of androgen and Wnt signaling in early-onset PCas, implying their clinical significance in the disease. Additionally, interaction between the androgen receptor (AR) and ?-catenin has long been detected in PCa cells. However, the consequence of this interaction in prostate tumorigenesis is still unknown. Because mutations in adenomatous polyposis coli, ?-catenin and other components of the destruction complex are generally rare in PCas, other mechanisms of aberrant Wnt signaling activation have been speculated. To address these critical questions, we developed Ctnnb1(L(ex3)/+)/R26hAR(L/+):PB-Cre4 mice, in which transgenic AR and stabilized ?-catenin are co-expressed in prostatic epithelial cells. We observed accelerated tumor development, aggressive tumor invasion and a decreased survival rate in Ctnnb1(L(ex3)/+)/R26hAR(L/+):PB-Cre4 compound mice compared with age-matched Ctnnb1(L(ex3)/+):PB-Cre4 littermate controls, which only have stabilized ?-catenin expression in the prostate. Castration of the above transgenic mice resulted in significant tumor regression, implying an essential role of androgen signaling in tumor growth and maintenance. Implantation of the prostatic epithelial cells isolated from the transgenic mice regenerated prostate intraepithelial neoplasias and prostatic adenocarcinoma lesions. Microarray analyses of transcriptional profiles showed more robust enrichment of known tumor- and metastasis-promoting genes: Spp1, Egr1, c-Myc, Sp5, and Sp6 genes, in samples isolated from Ctnnb1(L(ex3)/+)/R26hAR(L/+):PB-Cre4 compound mice than those from Ctnnb1(L(ex3)/+):PB-Cre4 and R26hAR(L/+):PB-Cre4 littermate controls. Together, these data demonstrate a confounding role of androgen signaling in ?-catenin-initiated oncogenic transformation in prostate tumorigenesis.
Project description:The tumor suppressor p16Ink4a, encoded by the INK4a gene, is an inhibitor of cyclin D-dependent kinases 4 and 6, CDK4 and CDK6. This inhibition prevents the phosphorylation of the retinoblastoma protein (pRb), resulting in cellular senescence through inhibition of E2F-mediated transcription of S phase genes required for cell proliferation. The p16Ink4a plays an important role in tumor suppression, whereby its deletion, mutation, or epigenetic silencing is a frequently observed genetic alteration in prostate cancer. To assess its roles and related molecular mechanisms in prostate cancer initiation and progression, we generated a mouse model with conditional deletion of p16Ink4a in prostatic luminal epithelium. The mice underwent oncogenic transformation and developed prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) from eight months of age, but failed to develop prostatic tumors. Given the prevalence of aberrant androgen signaling pathways in prostate cancer initiation and progression, we then generated R26hARL/wt:p16L/L: PB-Cre4 compound mice, in which conditional expression of the human AR transgene and deletion of p16Ink4a co-occur in prostatic luminal epithelial cells. While R26hARL/wt:PB-Cre4 mice showed no visible pathological changes, R26hARL/wt:p16L/L: PB-Cre4 compound mice displayed an early onset of high-grade PIN (HGPIN), prostatic carcinoma, and metastatic lesions. Strikingly, we observed tumors resembling human sarcomatoid carcinoma with intermixed focal regions of signet ring cell carcinoma (SRCC) in the prostates of the compound mice. Further characterization of these tumors showed they were of luminal epithelial cell origin, and featured characteristics of epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) with enhanced proliferative and invasive capabilities. Our results not only implicate a biological role for AR expression and p16Ink4a deletion in the pathogenesis of prostatic SRCC, but also provide a new and unique genetically engineered mouse (GEM) model for investigating the molecular mechanisms for SRCC development.
Project description:E-cadherin complexes with the actin cytoskeleton via cytoplasmic catenins and maintains the functional characteristics and integrity of the epithelia in normal epithelial tissues. Lost expression of E-cadherin disrupts this complex resulting in loss of cell polarity, epithelial denudation and increased epithelial permeability in a variety of tissues. Decreased expression of E-cadherin has also been observed in invasive and metastatic human tumors. In this study, we investigated the effect of E-cadherin loss in prostatic epithelium using newly developed genetically engineered mouse models. Deletion of E-cadherin in prostatic luminal epithelial cells with modified probasin promoter driven Cre (PB-Cre4) induced the development of mouse prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). An increase in levels of cytoplasmic and nuclear β-catenin appeared in E-cadherin deleted atypical cells within PIN lesions. Using various experimental approaches, we further demonstrated that the knockdown of E-cadherin expression elevated free cytoplasmic and nuclear β-catenin and enhanced androgen-induced transcription and cell growth. Intriguingly, pathological changes representing prostatic epithelial cell denudation and increased apoptosis accompanied the above PIN lesions. The essential role of E-cadherin in maintaining prostatic epithelial integrity and organization was further demonstrated using organoid culture approaches. To directly assess the role of loss of E-cadherin in prostate tumor progression, we generated a new mouse model with bigenic Cdh1 and Pten deletion in prostate epithelium. Early onset, aggressive tumor phenotypes presented in the compound mice. Strikingly, goblet cell metaplasia was observed, intermixed within prostatic tumor lesions of the compound mice. This study provides multiple lines of novel evidence demonstrating a comprehensive role of E-cadherin in maintaining epithelial integrity during the course of prostate oncogenic transformation, tumor initiation and progression.
Project description:Emerging evidence has shown that the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and its receptor, MET proto-oncogene, receptor tyrosine kinase (MET), promote cell proliferation, motility, morphogenesis, and angiogenesis. Whereas up-regulation of MET expression has been observed in aggressive and metastatic prostate cancer, a clear understanding of MET function in prostate tumorigenesis remains elusive. Here, we developed a conditional <i>Met</i> transgenic mouse strain, <i>H11</i> <sup><i>Met/</i>+</sup> <i>:PB-Cre4</i>, to mimic human prostate cancer cells with increased MET expression in the prostatic luminal epithelium. We found that these mice develop prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia after HGF administration. To further assess the biological role of MET in prostate cancer progression, we bred <i>H11</i> <sup><i>Met/</i>+</sup> <i>/Pten<sup>LoxP/LoxP</sup>:PBCre4</i> compound mice, in which transgenic <i>Met</i> expression and deletion of the tumor suppressor gene <i>Pten</i> occurred simultaneously only in prostatic epithelial cells. These compound mice exhibited accelerated prostate tumor formation and invasion as well as increased metastasis compared with <i>Pten<sup>LoxP/LoxP</sup>:PB-Cre4</i> mice. Moreover, prostatic sarcomatoid carcinomas and lesions resembling the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition developed in tumor lesions of the compound mice. RNA-Seq and qRT-PCR analyses revealed a robust enrichment of known tumor progression and metastasis-promoting genes in samples isolated from <i>H11</i> <sup><i>Met/</i>+</sup> <i>/Pten<sup>LoxP/LoxP</sup>:PB-Cre4</i> compound mice compared with those from <i>Pten<sup>LoxP/LoxP</sup>:PB-Cre4</i> littermate controls. HGF-induced cell proliferation and migration also increased in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) from animals with both <i>Met</i> transgene expression and <i>Pten</i> deletion compared with <i>Pten-</i>null MEFs. The results from these newly developed mouse models indicate a role for MET in hastening tumorigenesis and metastasis when combined with the loss of tumor suppressors.
Project description:Fetal prostate development is initiated by androgens and patterned by androgen dependent and independent signals. How these signals integrate to control epithelial cell differentiation and prostatic bud patterning is not fully understood. To test the role of beta-catenin (Ctnnb1) in this process, we used a genetic approach to conditionally delete or stabilize Ctnnb1 in urogenital sinus (UGS) epithelium from which the prostate derives. Two opposing mechanisms of action were revealed. By deleting Ctnnb1, we found it is required for separation of UGS from cloaca, emergence or maintenance of differentiated UGS basal epithelium and formation of prostatic buds. By genetically inducing a patchy subset of UGS epithelial cells to express excess CTNNB1, we found its excess abundance increases Bmp expression and leads to a global impairment of prostatic bud formation. Addition of NOGGIN partially restores prostatic budding in UGS explants with excess Ctnnb1. These results indicate a requirement for Ctnnb1 in UGS basal epithelial cell differentiation, prostatic bud initiation and bud spacing and suggest some of these actions are mediated in part through activation of BMP signaling.
Project description:Adenomyosis is defined by the presence of endometrial glands and stroma within the myometrium. Despite its frequent occurrence, the precise aetiology and physiopathology of adenomyosis is still unknown. WNT/?-catenin signalling molecules are important and should be tightly regulated for uterine function. To investigate the role of ?-catenin signalling in adenomyosis, the expression of ?-catenin was examined. Nuclear and cytoplasmic ?-catenin expression was significantly higher in epithelial cells of human adenomyosis compared to control endometrium. To determine whether constitutive activation of ?-catenin in the murine uterus leads to development of adenomyosis, mice that expressed a dominant stabilized ?-catenin in the uterus were used by crossing PR-Cre mice with Ctnnb1(f(ex3)/+) mice. Uteri of PR(cre) (/+) Ctnnb1(f(ex3)/+) mice displayed an abnormal irregular structure and highly active proliferation in the myometrium, and subsequently developed adenomyosis. Interestingly, the expression of E-cadherin was repressed in epithelial cells of PR(cre) (/+) Ctnnb1(f(ex3)/+) mice compared to control mice. Repression of E-cadherin is one of the hallmarks of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). The expression of SNAIL and ZEB1 was observed in some epithelial cells of the uterus in PR(cre) (/+) Ctnnb1(f(ex3)/+) mice but not in control mice. Vimentin and COUP-TFII, mesenchymal cell markers, were expressed in some epithelial cells of PR(cre) (/+) Ctnnb1(f(ex3)/+) mice. In human adenomyosis, the expression of E-cadherin was decreased in epithelial cells compared to control endometrium, while CD10, an endometrial stromal marker, was expressed in some epithelial cells of human adenomyosis. These results suggest that abnormal activation of ?-catenin contributes to adenomyosis development through the induction of EMT.
Project description:Androgen, beta-catenin (CTNNB1), and estrogen pathways stimulate proliferative growth of developing mouse prostate but how these pathways interact is not fully understood. We previously found that androgens induce CTNNB1 signaling in mouse urogenital sinus (UGS) epithelium from which prostatic ductal epithelium derives. Others have shown that low estradiol concentrations induce UGS epithelial proliferative growth. Here, we found that CTNNB1 signaling overlaps cyclin D1 (CCND1) expression in prostatic buds and we used a genetic approach to test whether CTNNB1 signaling induces CCND1 expression. We observed an unexpected sexually dimorphic response to hyperactive CCNTB1 signaling: in male mouse UGS it increased Ccnd1 mRNA abundance without increasing its protein abundance but in female UGS it increased Ccnd1 mRNA and protein abundance, suggesting a potential role for estrogens in stabilizing CCND1 protein. Treating wild type male UGS explants with androgen and either 17?-estradiol or a proteasome inhibitor increased CCND1 protein and KI67 labeling in prostatic bud epithelium. Together, our results are consistent with an epithelial proliferative growth mechanism linking CTNNB1-driven Ccnd1 transcription and estrogen-mediated CCND1 protein stabilization.
Project description:Androgen signaling is essential for prostate development, morphogenesis, and regeneration. Emerging evidence indicates that Wnt/?-catenin signaling also contributes to prostate development specifically through regulation of cell fate determination. Prostatic Axin2-expressing cells are able to respond to Wnt signals and possess the progenitor properties to regenerate prostatic epithelium. Despite critical roles of both signaling pathways, the biological significance of androgen receptor (AR) in Axin2-expressing/Wnt-responsive cells remains largely unexplored. In this study, we investigated this important question using a series of newly generated mouse models. Deletion of Ar in embryonic Axin2-expressing cells impaired early prostate development in both ex vivo and tissue implantation experiments. When Ar expression was deleted in prostatic Axin2-expressing cells at pre-puberty stages, it results in smaller and underdeveloped prostates. A subpopulation of Axin2 expressing cells in prostate epithelium is resistant to castration and, following androgen supplementation, is capable to expand to prostatic luminal cells. Deletion of Ar in these Axin2-expressing cells reduces their regenerative ability. These lines of evidence demonstrate an indispensable role for the Ar in Wnt-responsive cells during the course of prostate development, morphogenesis, and regeneration, which also imply an underlying interaction between the androgen and Wnt signaling pathways in the mouse prostate. Stem Cells 2018;36:891-902.
Project description:All the major components of the WNT signalling pathway are expressed in female germ cells and embryos. However, their functional relevance in oocyte biology is currently unclear. We examined ovaries collected from TCFGFP mice, a well-known Wnt reporter mouse model, and found dynamic changes in the Wnt/?catenin signalling activity during different stages of oocyte development and maturation. To understand the functional importance of Wnt signalling in oocytes, we developed a mouse model with the germ cell-specific constitutive activation of ?catenin using cre recombinase driven by the DEAD (Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp) box protein 4 (Ddx4) gene promoter. Histopathological and functional analysis of ovaries from these mutant mice (Ctnnb1(ex3)cko) showed no defects in ovarian functions, oocytes, ovulation and early embryonic development. However, breeding of the Ctnnb1(ex3)cko female mice with males of known fertility never resulted in birth of mutant pups. Examination of uteri from time pregnant mutant females revealed defects in ectoderm differentiation leading to abnormal foetal development and premature death. Collectively, our work has established the role of active WNT/?catenin signalling in oocyte biology and foetal development, and provides novel insights into the possible mechanisms of complications in human pregnancy such as repeated spontaneous abortion, sudden intrauterine unexpected foetal death syndrome and stillbirth.
Project description:We used microarrays to analyze the global gene expression and identified differentially expressed gene list between wild-type anterior prostates and Pb-Cre4;PtenLoxP/LoxP anterior prostates, Pb-Cre4;PtenLoxP/LoxP;LrfLoxP/LoxP anterior prostates at 12 weeks of age. Prostate-specific Pten deletion (Pb-Cre4;PtenLoxP/LoxP) results in prostate intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) which, following a long latency, can progress to high-grade adenocarcinoma, albeit with minimally invasive and metastatic features. However, inactivation of Lrf in the prostate epithelium in combination of Pten results in aggressive prostate tumors. To understand the molecular mechanisms by which loss of Lrf promotes Pten-loss-driven prostate tumorigenesis, we conducted transcriptome comparison of three wild-type anterior prostates, three Pb-Cre4;PtenLoxP/LoxP PIN, and three Pb-Cre4;PtenLoxP/LoxP;LrfLoxP/LoxP anterior prostate tumors.