Implications for RNase L in prostate cancer biology

Biochemistry. 2003 Feb 25;42(7):1805-12. doi: 10.1021/bi027147i.


Recently, the interferon (IFN) antiviral pathways and prostate cancer genetics and have surprisingly converged on a single-strand specific, regulated endoribonuclease. Genetics studies from several laboratories in the U.S., Finland, and Israel, support the recent identification of the RNase L gene, RNASEL, as a strong candidate for the long sought after hereditary prostate cancer 1 (HPC1) allele. Results from these studies suggest that mutations in RNASEL predispose men to an increased incidence of prostate cancer, which in some cases reflect more aggressive disease and/or decreased age of onset compared with non-RNASEL linked cases. RNase L is a uniquely regulated endoribonuclease that requires 5'-triphosphorylated, 2',5'-linked oligoadenylates (2-5A) for its activity. The presence of both germline mutations in RNASEL segregating with disease within HPC-affected families and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in tumor tissues suggest a novel role for the regulated endoribonuclease in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer. The association of mutations in RNASEL with prostate cancer cases further suggests a relationship between innate immunity and tumor suppression. It is proposed here that RNase L functions in counteracting prostate cancer by virtue of its ability to degrade RNA, thus initiating a cellular stress response that leads to apoptosis. This monograph reviews the biochemistry and genetics of RNase L as it relates to the pathobiology of prostate cancer and considers implications for future screening and therapy of this disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • 2',5'-Oligoadenylate Synthetase / chemistry
  • 2',5'-Oligoadenylate Synthetase / genetics
  • 2',5'-Oligoadenylate Synthetase / metabolism
  • 2',5'-Oligoadenylate Synthetase / physiology
  • Animals
  • Endoribonucleases / chemistry
  • Endoribonucleases / genetics
  • Endoribonucleases / metabolism
  • Endoribonucleases / physiology*
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology


  • 2',5'-Oligoadenylate Synthetase
  • Endoribonucleases
  • 2-5A-dependent ribonuclease