Nuclear pore complexes (NPCs) regulate nuclear-cytoplasmic transport, transcription, and genome integrity in eukaryotic cells. However, their functional roles in cancer remain poorly understood. We interrogated the evolutionary transcriptomic landscape of NPC components, nucleoporins (Nups), from primary to advanced metastatic human prostate cancer (PC). Focused loss-of-function genetic screen of top-upregulated Nups in aggressive PC models identified POM121 as a key contributor to PC aggressiveness. Mechanistically, POM121 promoted PC progression by enhancing importin-dependent nuclear transport of key oncogenic (E2F1, MYC) and PC-specific (AR-GATA2) transcription factors, uncovering a pharmacologically targetable axis that, when inhibited, decreased tumor growth, restored standard therapy efficacy, and improved survival in patient-derived pre-clinical models. Our studies molecularly establish a role of NPCs in PC progression and give a rationale for NPC-regulated nuclear import targeting as a therapeutic strategy for lethal PC. These findings may have implications for understanding how NPC deregulation contributes to the pathogenesis of other tumor types.
Keywords: E2F1; GATA2; MYC; POM121; androgen receptor; importin β; nuclear import; nuclear pore; nuclear transport; prostate cancer.
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