HOXB13 interaction with MEIS1 modifies proliferation and gene expression in prostate cancer

Prostate. 2019 Mar;79(4):414-424. doi: 10.1002/pros.23747. Epub 2018 Dec 17.


Background: The recurrent p.Gly84Glu germline mutation (G84E) in HOXB13 is consistently associated with prostate cancer (PCa), although the mechanisms underlying such linkage remain elusive. The majority of the PCa-associated HOXB13 mutations identified are localized to two conserved domains in HOXB13 that have been shown to mediate the interaction with MEIS cofactors belonging to the TALE family of homeodomain transcription factors. In this study, we sought to interrogate the biochemical and functional interactions between HOXB13 and MEIS in prostatic cells with a goal of defining how the HOXB13-MEIS complex impacts PCa pathobiology and define the extent to which the oncogenic activity of G84E is related to its effect on HOXB13-MEIS interaction/function.

Methods: HOXB13 and MEIS paralog expression in prostate epithelial cells and PCa cell lines was characterized by qPCR and immunoblot analyses. HOXB13 and MEIS1 co-expression in human prostate tissue was confirmed by IHC, followed by co-IP mapping of HOXB13-MEIS1 interactions. Proliferation of the PCa cell line LAPC4 following shRNA-mediated knockdown of each gene or both genes was assessed using DNA- and metabolic-based assays. Transcriptional targets of HOXB13 and MEIS1 were identified by gene expression profiling and qPCR. Finally, protein stability of HOXB13 in the context of MEIS1 was determined using pulse-chase assays.

Results: HOXB13 and MEIS1 are co-expressed and interact in prostate cells. Both of the putative MEIS interacting domains (MID) within HOXB13 were shown to be capable of mediating the interaction between HOXB13 and MEIS1 independently and such interactions were not influenced by the G84E mutation. The inhibitory effect of either HOXB13 or MEIS1 knockdown on cellular proliferation was augmented by knockdown of both genes, and MEIS1 knockdown abolished HOXB13-driven regulation of BCHE and TNFSF10 mRNA expression. Notably, we demonstrated that MEIS1 stabilized the HOXB13 protein in LAPC4 cells.

Conclusions: Our study provides evidence for functional HOXB13-MEIS1 interactions in PCa. MEIS1 may contribute to the cancer-promoting actions of HOXB13 in cellular proliferation and gene regulation by prolonging HOXB13 half-life. Our data demonstrates that G84E is not a loss-of-function mutation that interferes with HOXB13 stability or ability to interact with MEIS1.

Keywords: G84E; HOXB13; MEIS; PCa; prostate cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Myeloid Ecotropic Viral Integration Site 1 Protein / genetics
  • Myeloid Ecotropic Viral Integration Site 1 Protein / metabolism*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis


  • HOXB13 protein, human
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • MEIS1 protein, human
  • Myeloid Ecotropic Viral Integration Site 1 Protein
  • RNA, Messenger