MYB interacts with androgen receptor, sustains its ligand-independent activation and promotes castration resistance in prostate cancer

Br J Cancer. 2021 Nov 26. doi: 10.1038/s41416-021-01641-1. Online ahead of print.


Background: Aberrant activation of androgen receptor signalling following castration therapy is a common clinical observation in prostate cancer (PCa). Earlier, we demonstrated the role of MYB overexpression in androgen-depletion resistance and PCa aggressiveness. Here, we investigated MYB-androgen receptor (AR) crosstalk and its functional significance.

Methods: Interaction and co-localization of MYB and AR were examined by co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence analyses, respectively. Protein levels were measured by immunoblot analysis and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The role of MYB in ligand-independent AR transcriptional activity and combinatorial gene regulation was studied by promoter-reporter and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. The functional significance of MYB in castration resistance was determined using an orthotopic mouse model.

Results: MYB and AR interact and co-localize in the PCa cells. MYB-overexpressing PCa cells retain AR in the nucleus even when cultured under androgen-deprived conditions. AR transcriptional activity is also sustained in MYB-overexpressing cells in the absence of androgens. MYB binds and promotes AR occupancy to the KLK3 promoter. MYB-overexpressing PCa cells exhibit greater tumorigenicity when implanted orthotopically and quickly regain growth following castration leading to shorter mice survival, compared to those carrying low-MYB-expressing prostate tumours.

Conclusions: Our findings reveal a novel MYB-AR crosstalk in PCa and establish its role in castration resistance.