Locus-wide chromatin remodeling and enhanced androgen receptor-mediated transcription in recurrent prostate tumor cells

Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Oct;26(19):7331-41. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00581-06.


Prostate cancers (PCas) become resistant to hormone withdrawal through increased androgen receptor (AR) signaling. Here we show increased AR-mediated transcription efficiency in PCa cells that have acquired the ability to grow in low concentrations of androgen. Compared to androgen-dependent PCa cells, these cells showed increased activity of transiently transfected reporters and increased mRNA synthesis relative to levels of AR occupancy of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) gene. The locus also displayed up to 10-fold-higher levels of histone H3-K9/K14 acetylation and H3-K4 methylation across the entire body of the gene. Although similar increased mRNA expression and locus-wide histone acetylation were also observed at another kallikrein locus (KLK2), at a third AR target locus (TMPRSS2) increased gene expression and locus-wide histone acetylation were not seen in the absence of ligand. Androgen-independent PCa cells have thus evolved three distinctive alterations in AR-mediated transcription. First, increased RNA polymerase initiation and processivity contributed to increased gene expression. Second, AR signaling was more sensitive to ligand. Third, locus-wide chromatin remodeling conducive to the increased gene expression in the absence of ligand was apparent and depended on sustained AR activity. Therefore, increased AR ligand sensitivity as well as locus-specific chromatin alterations contribute to basal gene expression of a subpopulation of specific AR target genes in androgen-independent PCa cells. These features contribute to the androgen-independent phenotype of these cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation / drug effects
  • Androgens / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Chromatin / drug effects
  • Chromatin / genetics*
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly*
  • Dihydrotestosterone / pharmacology
  • Genes, Reporter / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Luciferases / genetics
  • Male
  • Methylation / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*
  • Response Elements / drug effects
  • Response Elements / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • AR protein, human
  • Androgens
  • Chromatin
  • Histones
  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Dihydrotestosterone
  • Luciferases
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen