Overexpression of ERG in the prostate epithelium, due to chromosomal translocations, contributes to prostate tumorigenesis. Here, genomic analysis of ERG siRNA-treated prostate cells harboring the endogenous TMPRSS2-ERG fusion revealed an inverse relationship between ERG and Annexin A2 (ANXA2) expression at both the RNA and protein level. ANXA2, a Ca2+-dependent and phospholipid-binding protein, is involved in various cellular functions, including maintenance of epithelial cell polarity. Mechanistic studies defined the prostate-specific transcription start site of ANXA2 and showed that the recruitment of ERG to the ANXA2 promoter is required for transcriptional repression by ERG. Knockdown of ERG enhanced the apical localization of ANXA2, the bundling of actin filaments at cell-cell junctions and formation of a polarized epithelial phenotype. ERG overexpression disrupted ANXA2 mediated cell polarity and promoted epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) by inhibiting CDC42 and RHOA, and by activating cofilin. Immunohistochemistry (IHC), demonstrated a reciprocal relationship of ANXA2 and ERG expression in a large fraction of primary prostate cancer clinical specimens. ANXA2 was absent or markedly reduced in ERG(+) tumors, which were mostly well-differentiated. ERG(-) tumors, meanwhile, expressed moderate to high levels of ANXA2, and were either poorly-differentiated or displayed subsets of poorly-differentiated cells. Taken together, the transcriptional repression of ANXA2 by ERG in prostate epithelial cells plays a critical role in abrogating differentiation, promoting EMT, and in the reciprocal correlation of ERG and ANXA2 expression observed in human prostate cancer. Implications: ANXA2 is a new component of the ERG network with potential to enhance biological stratification and therapeutic targeting of ERG stratified prostate cancers.
Gene fusion between TMPRSS2 promoter and the ERG proto-oncogene is a major genomic alteration found in over half of prostate cancers (CaP), which leads to aberrant androgen dependent ERG expression. Despite extensive analysis for the biological functions of ERG in CaP, there is no systematic evaluation of the ERG responsive proteome (ERP). ERP has the potential to define new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for prostate tumors stratified by ERG expression.
Recently, mitochondria have been suggested to act in tumor suppression. However, the underlying mechanisms by which mitochondria suppress tumorigenesis are far from being clear. In this study, we have investigated the link between mitochondrial dysfunction and the tumor suppressor protein p53 using a set of respiration-deficient (Res(-)) mammalian cell mutants with impaired assembly of the oxidative phosphorylation machinery. Our data suggest that normal mitochondrial function is required for ?-irradiation (?IR)-induced cell death, which is mainly a p53-dependent process. The Res(-) cells are protected against ?IR-induced cell death due to impaired p53 expression/function. We find that the loss of complex I biogenesis in the absence of the MWFE subunit reduces the steady-state level of the p53 protein, although there is no effect on the p53 protein level in the absence of the ESSS subunit that is also essential for complex I assembly. The p53 protein level was also reduced to undetectable levels in Res(-) cells with severely impaired mitochondrial protein synthesis. This suggests that p53 protein expression is differentially regulated depending upon the type of electron transport chain/respiratory chain deficiency. Moreover, irrespective of the differences in the p53 protein expression profile, ?IR-induced p53 activity is compromised in all Res(-) cells. Using two different conditional systems for complex I assembly, we also show that the effect of mitochondrial dysfunction on p53 expression/function is a reversible phenomenon. We believe that these findings will have major implications in the understanding of cancer development and therapy.
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