To investigate whether the tumor suppressor gene PTEN affects the activity of the androgen receptor (AR), we monitored the expression of the apoptotic gene HA-Bax (inserted in an adenovirus where it is driven by the AR-responsive promoter ARR(2)PB) in the presence or absence of dihydrotestosterone, in PTEN (+) or (-) prostate cancer cell lines, infected with an adenovirus containing wild-type PTEN (Av-CMV-PTEN) or a control LacZ-expressing construct. Our results showed that AR transcriptional activity was antagonized by PTEN expression. This antagonism was not cell line dependent, as it was observed in both LNCaP and LAPC-4 cells, or promoter dependent, as it was observed for a reporter gene (HA-Bax) driven by an exogenous androgen-responsive promoter (the ARR(2)PB promoter), and for a native gene (prostate-specific antigen; PSA) driven by an endogenous AR-responsive promoter. Additional experiments performed with viruses containing constitutively active (Adeno-myrAkt) or dominant negative (Adeno-dnAkt) forms of Akt demonstrated that Akt, a protein kinase whose activation is known to be inhibited by PTEN, mediated the observed antagonism between PTEN and AR transcriptional activity. Recently, two putative Akt phosphorylation sites have been identified in the AR sequence. Site-directed mutagenesis was utilized to convert these two serine into alanine residues. The resulting construct, named CMV-AR S213A&S791A was transfected in AR (-) and PTEN (-) PC-3 cells in the presence or absence of Av-CMV-PTEN and of two reporter plasmids (GRE(2)E1b-Luc and PSA P/E-luc) containing the luciferase gene driven by well-characterized androgen responsive promoters. These experiments demonstrated that, similarly to the wild-type molecule, AR S213A&S791A was transcriptionally inhibited by PTEN, suggesting that Akt does not have an effect on AR transcription by direct phosphorylation, but probably by affecting the availability of a downstream molecule whose main mechanism of action is that of modulating AR transcription. The data presented here suggest that loss of PTEN function may facilitate activation of AR signaling and progression to androgen independence in prostate cancer.
B Nan, T Snabboon, E Unni, Yuan X-J, YE Whang and M Marcelli
Ying Li, Chun Ye, Peng Shi, Xiao-Ju Zou, Rui Xiao, Yuan-Ying Gong and Ya-Ping Zhang
The growth hormone (GH) gene family represents an erratic and complex evolutionary pattern, involving many evolutionary events, such as multiple gene duplications, positive selection, the birth-and-death process and gene conversions. In the present study, we cloned and sequenced GH-like genes from three species of New World monkeys (NWM). Phylogenetic analysis strongly suggest monophyly for NWM GH-like genes with respect to those of Old World monkeys (OWM) and hominoids, indicating that independent gene duplications have occurred in NWM GH-like genes. There are three main clusters of genes in putatively functional NWM GH-like genes, according to our gene tree. Comparison of the ratios of nonsynonymous and synonymous substitutions revealed that these three clusters of genes evolved under different kinds of selective pressures. Detailed analysis of the evolution of pseudogenes showed that the evolutionary pattern of this gene family in platyrrhines is in agreement with the so-called birth-and-death process.
Peng Zhang, Sheng Wang, Liang Wang, Bing Chen Shan, Hui Zhang, Fan Yang, Zhi Qiang Zhou, Xiao Wang, Ye Yuan and You Jia Xu
Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a global health issue. Although a lack of estrogen is considered the major reason for postmenopausal osteoporosis, other factors might also contribute the etiology of the disease. In previous reports, we and others proposed that iron accumulation after menopause accelerates osteoporosis, and here, we genetically modified the expression of an endogenous hormone, hepcidin, to modulate iron status in a mouse model. Our results show that hepcidin levels negatively correlate with bone loss in both knockout and overexpression (with ovariectomy) murine models. In addition, iron overload enhances reactive oxygen species (ROS) activity and attenuates the functions of primary osteoblasts, while iron depletion could reverse this phenomenon through inhibiting the functions of primary osteoclasts. Therefore, our results provide more evidence of the ‘iron accumulation’ hypothesis, which suggests that high iron levels are risk factors for osteoporosis, and the ‘Huang’s hypothesis’ that hepcidin is a potential drug target for the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis.