Repression of Runx2 by androgen receptor (AR) in osteoblasts and prostate cancer cells: AR binds Runx2 and abrogates its recruitment to DNA

Mol Endocrinol. 2009 Aug;23(8):1203-14. doi: 10.1210/me.2008-0470. Epub 2009 Apr 23.


Runx2 and androgen receptor (AR) are master transcription factors with pivotal roles in bone metabolism and prostate cancer (PCa). We dissected AR-mediated repression of Runx2 in dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-treated osteoblastic and PCa cells using reporter assays and endogenous Runx2 target genes. Repression required DHT, but not AR's transactivation function, and was associated with nuclear colocalization of the two proteins. Runx2 and AR coimmunoprecipitated and interacted directly in glutathione-S-transferase pull-down assays. Interaction was ionic in nature. Intact AR DNA-binding domain (DBD) was necessary and sufficient for both interaction with Runx2 and its repression. Runx2 sequences required for interaction were the C-terminal 132 amino acid residues together with the Runt DBD. Runx2 DNA binding was abrogated by endogenous AR in chromatin immunoprecipitation assays and by recombinant AR-DBD in gel shift assays. Furthermore, AR caused increased nuclear mobility of Runx2 as indicated by faster fluorescence recovery after photobleaching. Thus, AR binds Runx2 and abrogates its binding to DNA and possibly to other nuclear components. Clinical relevance of our results was suggested by an inverse correlation between expression of AR-responsive prostate-specific antigen and osteocalcin genes in PCa biopsies. Given the tumor suppressor properties of Runx2, its repression by AR may constitute a mechanism of hormone carcinogenesis. Attenuation of Runx2 by AR in osteoblasts may play a role in skeletal metabolism: the bone-sparing effect of androgens is attributable, in part, to keeping Runx2 activity in check and preventing high-turnover bone disease such as seen after castration and in transgenic mice overexpressing Runx2 in osteoblasts.

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

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • COS Cells
  • Chlorocebus aethiops
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 1 Subunit / metabolism*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 1 Subunit
  • RUNX2 protein, human
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Runx2 protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors
  • DNA