The ATBF1/ZFHX3 gene at 16q22 is the second most frequently mutated gene in human prostate cancer and has reduced expression or mislocalization in several types of human tumors. Nonetheless, the hypothesis that ATBF1 has a tumor suppressor function in prostate cancer has not been tested. In this study, we examined the role of ATBF1 in prostatic carcinogenesis by specifically deleting Atbf1 in mouse prostatic epithelial cells. We also examined the effect of Atbf1 deletion on gene expression and signaling pathways in mouse prostates. Histopathologic analyses showed that Atbf1 deficiency caused hyperplasia and mouse prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (mPIN) primarily in the dorsal prostate but also in other lobes. Hemizygous deletion of Atbf1 also increased the development of hyperplasia and mPIN, indicating a haploinsufficiency of Atbf1. The mPIN lesions expressed luminal cell markers and harbored molecular changes similar to those in human PIN and prostate cancer, including weaker expression of basal cell marker cytokeratin 5 (Ck5), cell adhesion protein E-cadherin, and the smooth muscle layer marker Sma; elevated expression of the oncoproteins phospho-Erk1/2, phospho-Akt and Muc1; and aberrant protein glycosylation. Gene expression profiling revealed a large number of genes that were dysregulated by Atbf1 deletion, particularly those that encode for secretory and cell membrane proteins. The four signaling networks that were most affected by Atbf1 deletion included those centered on Erk1/2 and IGF1, Akt and FSH, NF-κB and progesterone and β-estradiol. These findings provide in vivo evidence that ATBF1 is a tumor suppressor in the prostate, suggest that loss of Atbf1 contributes to tumorigenesis by dysregulating membrane and secretory proteins and multiple signaling pathways, and provide a new animal model for prostate cancer.
Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.