Cholesterol Sulfotransferase SULT2B1b Modulates Sensitivity to Death Receptor Ligand TNFα in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

Mol Cancer Res. 2019 Jun;17(6):1253-1263. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-18-1054. Epub 2019 Mar 1.


Cholesterol sulfotransferase, SULT2B1b, has been demonstrated to modulate both androgen receptor activity and cell growth properties. However, the mechanism(s) by which SULT2B1b alters these properties within prostate cancer cells has not been described. Furthermore, specific advantages of SULT2B1b expression in prostate cancer cells are not understood. In these studies, single-cell mRNA sequencing was conducted to compare the transcriptomes of SULT2B1b knockdown (KD) versus Control KD LNCaP cells. Over 2,000 differentially expressed genes were identified along with alterations in numerous canonical pathways, including the death receptor signaling pathway. The studies herein demonstrate that SULT2B1b KD increases TNFα expression in prostate cancer cells and results in NF-κB activation in a TNF-dependent manner. More importantly, SULT2B1b KD significantly enhances TNF-mediated apoptosis in both TNF-sensitive LNCaP cells and TNF-resistant C4-2 cells. Overexpression of SULT2B1b in LNCaP cells also decreases sensitivity to TNF-mediated cell death, suggesting that SULT2B1b modulates pathways dictating the TNF sensitivity capacity of prostate cancer cells. Probing human prostate cancer patient datasets further supports this work by providing evidence that SULT2B1b expression is inversely correlated with TNF-related genes, including TNF, CD40LG, FADD, and NFKB1. Together, these data provide evidence that SULT2B1b expression in prostate cancer cells enhances resistance to TNF and may provide a growth advantage. In addition, targeting SULT2B1b may induce an enhanced therapeutic response to TNF treatment in advanced prostate cancer. IMPLICATIONS: These data suggest that SULT2B1b expression enhances resistance to TNF and may promote prostate cancer.

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

  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cell Death / physiology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Fas-Associated Death Domain Protein / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Male
  • NF-kappa B p50 Subunit / metabolism
  • Prostate / metabolism
  • Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism*


  • CD40LIg fusion protein
  • Fas-Associated Death Domain Protein
  • NF-kappa B p50 Subunit
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Sulfotransferases
  • cholesterol sulfotransferase
  • SULT2B1 protein, human