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Androgen/androgen receptor axis maintains and promotes cancer cell stemness through direct activation of Nanog transcription in hepatocellular carcinoma.

ABSTRACT: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most common and malignant cancers. The HCC incidence gets a strong sexual dimorphism as men are the major sufferers in this disaster. Although several studies have uncovered the presentative correlation between the axis of androgen/androgen receptor (AR) and HCC incidence, the mechanism is still largely unknown. Cancer stem cells (CSCs) are a small subgroup of cancer cells contributing to multiple tumors malignant behaviors, which play an important role in oncogenesis of various cancers including HCC. However, whether androgen/AR axis involves in regulation of HCC cells stemness remains unclear. Our previous study had identified that the pluripotency factor Nanog is not only a stemness biomarker, but also a potent regulator of CSCs in HCC. In this study, we revealed androgen/AR axis can promote HCC cells stemness by transcriptional activation of Nanog expression through directly binding to its promoter. In HCC tissues, we found that AR expression was abnormal high and got correlation with Nanog. Then, by labeling cellular endogenous Nanog with green fluorescent protein (GFP) through CRISPR/Cas9 system, it verified the co-localization of AR and Nanog in HCC cells. With in vitro experiments, we demonstrated the axis can promote HCC cells stemness, which effect is in a Nanog-dependent manner and through activating its transcription. And the xenografted tumor experiments confirmed the axis effect on tumorigenesis facilitation in vivo. Above all, we revealed a new sight of androgen/AR axis roles in HCC and provided a potential way for suppressing the axis in HCC therapy.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC5095041 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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