JOURNAL ARTICLE

Membrane androgen receptor activation triggers down-regulation of PI-3K/Akt/NF-kappaB activity and induces apoptotic responses via Bad, FasL and caspase-3 in DU145 prostate cancer cells

Natalia Papadopoulou, Ioannis Charalampopoulos, Vasileia Anagnostopoulou, Georgios Konstantinidis, Michael Föller, Achilleas Gravanis, Konstantinos Alevizopoulos, Florian Lang, Christos Stournaras
Molecular Cancer 2008, 7: 88
19055752

BACKGROUND: Recently we have reported membrane androgen receptors-induced apoptotic regression of prostate cancer cells regulated by Rho/ROCK/actin signaling. In the present study we explored the specificity of these receptors and we analyzed downstream effectors controlling survival and apoptosis in hormone refractory DU145-prostate cancer cells stimulated with membrane androgen receptor-selective agonists.

RESULTS: Using membrane impermeable conjugates of serum albumin covalently linked to testosterone, we show here down-regulation of the activity of pro-survival gene products, namely PI-3K/Akt and NF-kappaB, in DU145 cells. Testosterone-albumin conjugates further induced FasL expression. A FasL blocking peptide abrogated membrane androgen receptors-dependent apoptosis. In addition, testosterone-albumin conjugates increased caspase-3 and Bad protein activity. The actin cytoskeleton drug cytochalasin B and the ROCK inhibitor Y-27632 inhibited FasL induction and caspase-3 activation, indicating that the newly identified Rho/Rock/actin signaling may regulate the downstream pro-apoptotic effectors in DU145 cells. Finally, other steroids or steroid-albumin conjugates did not interfere with these receptors indicating testosterone specificity.

CONCLUSION: Collectively, our results provide novel mechanistic insights pointing to specific pro-apoptotic molecules controlling membrane androgen receptors-induced apoptotic regression of prostate cancer cells and corroborate previously published observations on the potential use of membrane androgen receptor-agonists as novel anti-tumor agents in prostate cancer.

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