The androgen receptor (AR), a nuclear receptor superfamily transcription factor, plays a key role in prostate cancer. AR signaling is the principal target for prostate cancer treatment, but current androgen-deprivation therapies cannot completely abolish AR signaling because of the heterogeneity of prostate cancers. Therefore, unraveling the mechanism of AR reactivation in androgen-depleted conditions can identify effective prostate cancer therapeutic targets. Increasing evidence indicates that AR activity is mediated by the interplay of modifying/demodifying enzymatic co-regulators. To better understand the mechanism of AR transcriptional activity regulation, we used antibodies against AR for affinity purification and identified the deubiquitinating enzyme ubiquitin-specific protease 7, USP7 as a novel AR co-regulator in prostate cancer cells. We showed that USP7 associates with AR in an androgen-dependent manner and mediates AR deubiquitination. Sequential ChIP assays indicated that USP7 forms a complex with AR on androgen-responsive elements of target genes upon stimulation with the androgen 5α-dihydrotestosterone. Further investigation indicated that USP7 is necessary to facilitate androgen-activated AR binding to chromatin. Transcriptome profile analysis of USP7-knockdown LNCaP cells also revealed the essential role of USP7 in the expression of a subset of androgen-responsive genes. Hence, inhibition of USP7 represents a compelling therapeutic strategy for the treatment of prostate cancer.
Keywords: androgen receptor; gene transcription; prostate cancer; transcriptional coactivator; ubiquitin-dependent protease.
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.