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1.  Tumor-Promoting Phenotype of CD90hi Prostate Cancer-Associated Fibroblasts 
The Prostate  2009;69(9):991-1000.
Cancer-associated stroma contributes to the malignant behavior of adenocarcinomas of the prostate and other organs. CD90 is a marker of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and its expression is higher in prostate cancer stroma compared to normal tissue. Cultured prostate cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) expressing high versus low levels of CD90 were analyzed for an MSC-like or tumor-promoting phenotype.
CD90hi and CD90lo cells were collected by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). Expression of genes associated with MSCs and/or tumor-promoting activities was measured by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Effects of stromal cell co-culture or conditioned media were tested on BPH-1 epithelial cells.
The pattern of gene expression did not support the hypothesis that CD90hi cells were MSCs. However, CD90hi cells expressed higher levels of many genes associated with tumor promotion, including cytokines, angiogenic factors, hedgehog signaling components, and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β. Co-culture or conditioned medium from CD90hi cells increased CXCR4 expression in BPH-1 cells, at least in part due to TGF-β, and protected BPH-1 cells from apoptosis.
Our results suggest that the elevated expression of CD90 previously observed in the cancer-associated stroma of the human prostate is biologically significant. Although our results do not support the idea that CD90hi cells cultured from the cancer stroma are MSCs, our findings suggest that the phenotype of these cells is more tumor-promoting than that of cells expressing low CD90.
PMCID: PMC2736596  PMID: 19267366
prostate cancer; stroma; CD90; mesenchymal stem cells
2.  Distinctive Gene Expression of Prostatic Stromal Cells Cultured From Diseased Versus Normal Tissues 
Journal of cellular physiology  2007;210(1):111-121.
To obtain a comprehensive view of the transcriptional programs in prostatic stromal cells of different histological/pathological origin, we profiled 18 adult human stromal cell cultures from normal transition zone (TZ), normal peripheral zone (PZ), benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), and prostate cancer (CA) using cDNA microarrays. A hierarchical clustering analysis of 714 named unique genes whose expression varied at least threefold from the overall mean abundance in at least three samples in all 18 samples demonstrated that cells of different origin displayed distinct gene expression profiles. Many of the differentially expressed genes are involved in biological processes known to be important in the development of prostatic diseases including cell proliferation and apoptosis, cell adhesion, and immune response. Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM) analysis identified genes that showed differential expression with statistical significance including 24 genes between cells from TZ versus BPH, 34 between BPH versus CA, and 101 between PZ versus CA. S100A4 and SULF1, the most up- and downregulated genes in BPH versus TZ, respectively, showed expression at the protein level consistent with microarray analysis. In addition, sulfatase assay showed that BPH cells have lower SULF1 activity compared to TZ cells. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) analysis confirmed differential expression of ENPP2/autotoxin and six other genes between PZ versus CA, as well as differential expression of six genes between BPH versus CA. Our results support the hypothesis that prostatic stromal cells of different origin have unique transcriptional programs and point towards genes involved in actions of stromal cells in BPH and CA.
PMCID: PMC2732006  PMID: 17044071
3.  Imaging the Glycosylation State of Cell Surface Glycoproteins using Two-photon Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy 
Glycoproteins in focus
Metabolic labeling of azido sugars combined with two-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy enables the visualization of specific glycoforms of endogenous proteins. This method can be utilized to detect glycosylated proteins in both cell culture and intact human tissue slices.
PMCID: PMC3920747  PMID: 24259491
bioorthogonal chemistry; fluorescence; glycosylation; metabolic incorporation; prostate cancer
4.  Establishment and Serial Passage of Cell Cultures derived from LuCaP Xenografts 
The Prostate  2013;73(12):1251-1262.
LuCaP serially transplantable xenografts derived from primary and metastatic human prostate cancer encompass the molecular and cellular heterogeneity of the disease and are an invaluable resource for in vivo preclinical studies. A limitation of this model, however, has been the inability to establish and passage cell cultures derived from the xenografts. Here, we describe a novel spheroid culture system that supports long-term growth of LuCaP cells in vitro.
Xenografts were minced and digested with collagenase. Tissue dissociation was terminated while the majority of cells remained as clusters rather than single cells. The cell clusters were suspended in StemPro medium supplemented with R1881 and Y-27632, a Rho kinase inhibitor, and placed in ultralow attachment dishes for spheroid culture. Serial passage was achieved by partial digestion to small clusters with trypsin/EDTA in the presence of Y-27632. Cell viability, growth and phenotype were monitored with LIVE-DEAD®, MTS, qRT-PCR and immunocytochemical assays.
Cells from six LuCaP xenografts formed proliferating spheroids that were serially passaged a minimum of 3 times and cryopreserved. Two of the cell lines, LuCaP 136 and LuCaP 147, were further passaged and characterized. Both expressed biomarkers characteristic of the xenografts of origin, were determined to be of independent origin by STR fingerprinting, and were free of mycoplasma. LuCaP 147 formed tumors similar to the original xenograft when injected into mice.
The ability to culture LuCaP cells affords new opportunities for fast, cheap, and efficient preclinical studies and extends the value of the LuCaP xenograft models.
PMCID: PMC3720815  PMID: 23740600
prostate cancer; preclinical model; spheroids
5.  Anti-Oligomannose Antibodies as Potential Serum Biomarkers of Aggressive Prostate Cancer 
Drug development research  2013;74(2):65-80.
Strategy, Management and Health PolicyEnabling Technology, Genomics, ProteomicsPreclinical ResearchPreclinical Development Toxicology, Formulation Drug Delivery, PharmacokineticsClinical Development Phases I-III Regulatory, Quality, ManufacturingPostmarketing Phase IV
This study bridges a carbohydrate microarray discovery and a large-scale serological validation of anti-oligomannose antibodies as novel serum biomarkers of aggressive prostate cancer (PCa). Experimentally, a Man9-cluster-specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was established to enable sensitive detection of anti-Man9 antibodies in human sera. A large-cohort of men with PCa or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) whose sera were banked at Stanford University was characterized using this assay. Subjects included patients with 100% Gleason grade 3 cancer (n = 84), with Gleason grades 4 and/or 5 cancer (n = 204), and BPH controls (n = 135). Radical prostatectomy Gleason grades and biochemical (PSA) recurrence served as key parameters for serum biomarker evaluation. It was found that IgGMan9 and IgMMan9 were widely present in the sera of men with BPH, as well as those with cancer. However, these antibody reactivities were significantly increased in the subjects with the largest volumes of high grade cancer. Detection of serum IgGMan9 and IgMMan9 significantly predicted the clinical outcome of PCa post-radical prostatectomy. Given these results, we suggest that IgGMan9 and IgMMan9 are novel serum biomarkers for monitoring aggressive progression of PCa. The potential of oligomannosyl antigens as targets for PCa subtyping and targeted immunotherapy is yet to be explored.
PMCID: PMC4139012  PMID: 25152555
autoantibodies; carbohydrate microarray; oligomannose; prostate cancer
6.  Optimization and comprehensive characterization of a faithful tissue culture model of the benign and malignant human prostate 
Few preclinical models accurately depict normal human prostate tissue or primary prostate cancer (PCa). In vitro systems typically lack complex cellular interactions among structured prostatic epithelia and a stromal microenvironment, and genetic and molecular fidelity are concerns in both in vitro and in vivo models. “Tissue slice cultures” (TSC) provide realistic preclinical models of diverse tissues and organs, but have not been fully developed or widely utilized for prostate studies. Problems encountered include degeneration of differentiated secretory cells, basal cell hyperplasia, and poor survival of PCa. Here, we optimized, characterized, and applied a TSC model of primary human PCa and benign prostate tissue that overcomes many deficiencies of current in vitro models. Tissue cores from fresh prostatectomy specimens were precision-cut at 300-µm and incubated in a rotary culture apparatus. The ability of varied culture conditions to faithfully maintain benign and cancer cell and tissue structure and function over time was evaluated by immunohistological and biochemical assays. After optimization of the culture system, molecular and cellular responses to androgen ablation and to piperlongumine, purported to specifically reduce androgen signaling in PCa, were investigated. Optimized culture conditions successfully maintained the structural and functional fidelity of both benign and PCa TSCs for 5 days. TSCs exhibited androgen-dependence, appropriately undergoing ductal degeneration, reduced proliferation, and decreased prostate-specific antigen expression upon androgen ablation. Furthermore, TSCs revealed cancer-specific reduction of androgen receptor and increased apoptosis upon treatment with piperlongumine, validating data from cell lines. We demonstrate a TSC model that authentically recapitulates the structural, cellular, and genetic characteristics of the benign and malignant human prostate, androgen-dependence of the native tissue, and cancer-specific response to a potential new therapeutic for PCa. The work described herein provides a basis for advancing the experimental utility of the TSC model.
PMCID: PMC3946793  PMID: 24296879
ex vivo; model development; prostate; prostate cancer; tissue slice culture
7.  Association of Prostate-Specific Antigen Promoter Genotype with Clinical and Histopathologic Features of Prostate Cancer 
The serum test for the secreted protease prostate-specific antigen (PSA) is the most widely used screening tool for prostate cancer. The PSA gene contains multiple functional and nonfunctional single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in its promoter. We showed previously that the rs925013 G/A SNP, but not the rs266882 G/A SNP, was significantly associated with serum PSA in healthy men. In this study, we evaluated the association of the PSA promoter genotype with clinical data in a cohort of 1,224 men with prostate cancer. Previous work with a subset of this cohort has shown that percent high-grade (Gleason grades 4 and 5) cancer was the strongest predictor of biochemical recurrence (PSA relapse). We found a statistically significant association (P < 0.05) of the rs925013 SNP with several clinical and histomorphologic variables. The G allele was associated with higher serum PSA at diagnosis, higher percent Gleason grade 3 cancer, and lower percent high-grade and Gleason grade 4 cancer. The rs266882 SNP was modestly associated with PSA at diagnosis in a dominant model but was not associated with cancer grade. Neither SNP was associated with biochemical recurrence. The statistically significant predictors of biochemical recurrence were tumor location in the peripheral zone [odds ratio (OR), 10.71; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 3.15-36.49], presence of any Gleason grade 4/5 cancer (OR, 4.26; 95% CI, 1.30-14.00), presence of any intraductal cancer (OR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.00-1.04), and serum PSA at diagnosis (OR, 2.04; 95% CI, 1.50-2.77).
PMCID: PMC4114034  PMID: 18768516
8.  A Tissue Graft Model of DNA Damage Response in the Normal and Malignant Human Prostate 
The Journal of urology  2013;191(3):842-849.
DNA damage responses are relevant to prostate cancer initiation, progression and treatment. Few models of the normal and malignant human prostate that maintain stromal-epithelial interactions in vivo exist in which to study DNA damage responses. We evaluated the feasibility of maintaining tissue slice grafts at subcutaneous vs subrenal capsular sites in RAG2−/− γC−/− mice to study the DNA damage responses of normal and malignant glands.
Materials and Methods
We compared the take rate and histology of tissue slice grafts from fresh, precision cut surgical specimens that were maintained for 1 to 4 weeks in subcutaneous vs subrenal capsular sites. Induction of γH2AX, p53, ATM and apoptosis was evaluated as a measure of the DNA damage response after irradiation.
The take rate of subcutaneous tissue slice grafts was higher than typically reported but lower than at the subrenal capsular site. Subcutaneous tissue slice grafts frequently showed basal cell hyperplasia, squamous meta-plasia and cystic atrophy, and cancer did not survive. In contrast, normal and malignant histology was well maintained in subrenal capsular tissue slice grafts. Regardless of implantation site the induction of γH2AX and ATM occurred in tissue slice graft epithelium 1 hour after irradiation and decreased to basal level by 24 hours, indicating DNA damage recognition and repair. As observed previously in prostatic ex vivo models, p53 was not activated. Notably, tumor but not normal cells responded to irradiation by undergoing apoptosis.
To our knowledge this is the first study of DNA damage responses in a patient derived prostate tissue graft model. The subrenal capsular site of RAG2−/− γC −/− mice optimally maintains normal and malignant histology and function, permitting novel studies of DNA damage responses in a physiological context.
PMCID: PMC4009951  PMID: 24035881
prostate; prostatic neoplasms; DNA damage; H2AFX protein; human; transplants
9.  Carbohydrate Sequence of the Prostate Cancer-associated Antigen F77 Assigned by a Mucin O-Glycome Designer Array* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2014;289(23):16462-16477.
Background: F77 is a previously uncharacterized prostate cancer-associated antigen.
Results: Using a microarray of sequence-defined glycolipids and neoglycolipids, mucin-O-glycan designer arrays, and mass spectrometry, we demonstrate that F77 antibody recognizes blood group H on 6-linked branches of poly-N-acetyllactosamine backbones.
Conclusion: F77 antigen is expressed on glycolipids and on glycoprotein O-glycans.
Significance: F77 antigen can now be explored rationally as a cancer biomarker.
Monoclonal antibody F77 was previously raised against human prostate cancer cells and has been shown to recognize a carbohydrate antigen, but the carbohydrate sequence of the antigen was elusive. Here, we make multifaceted approaches to characterize F77 antigen, including binding analyses with the glycolipid extract of the prostate cancer cell line PC3, microarrays with sequence-defined glycan probes, and designer arrays from the O-glycome of an antigen-positive mucin, in conjunction with mass spectrometry. Our results reveal F77 antigen to be expressed on blood group H on a 6-linked branch of a poly-N-acetyllactosamine backbone. We show that mAb F77 can also bind to blood group A and B analogs but with lower intensities. We propose that the close association of F77 antigen with prostate cancers is a consequence of increased blood group H expression together with up-regulated branching enzymes. This is in contrast to other epithelial cancers that have up-regulated branching enzymes but diminished expression of H antigen. With knowledge of the structure and prevalence of F77 antigen in prostate cancer, the way is open to explore rationally its application as a biomarker to detect F77-positive circulating prostate cancer-derived glycoproteins and tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC4047413  PMID: 24753245
Antibody; Carbohydrate Structure; Glycolipid; Mass Spectrometry (MS); Prostate Cancer; O-Glycome Designer Array; Cancer-associated Antigen; Carbohydrate Microarray; Glycan Array; Neoglycolipid
10.  Determination of Carbohydrate Structure Recognized by Prostate-specific F77 Monoclonal Antibody through Expression Analysis of Glycosyltransferase Genes* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2014;289(23):16478-16486.
Background: Monoclonal antibody F77 raised against the PC-3 cells recognizes human prostate cancers.
Results: Co-transfections with glycosyltransferase genes showed that FUT1 and one of GCNT1, GCNT2, or GCNT3 are necessary for F77 antigen expression in mammalian cells.
Conclusion: F77 antigen is expressed on glycan structures composed of Fucα1→2Galβ1→4GlcNAcβ1→6Gal/GalNAc.
Significance: Defining the F77 epitope provides a basis for clinical applications of this antibody.
This study reports the determination of the carbohydrate epitope of monoclonal antibody F77 previously raised against human prostate cancer PC-3 cells (Zhang, G., Zhang, H., Wang, Q., Lal, P., Carroll, A. M., de la Llera-Moya, M., Xu, X., and Greene, M. I. (2010) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 107, 732–737). We performed a series of co-transfections using mammalian expression vectors encoding specific glycosyltransferases. We thereby identified branching enzymes and FUT1 (required for Fucα1→2Gal linkage) as being essential for F77 antigen formation. When immortalized normal prostate 267B1 cells were transfected with FUT1 alone, cells showed weak expression of F77 antigen. By contrast, cells co-transfected with FUT1 plus either GCNT1, GCNT2, or GCNT3 (an enzyme required to form GlcNAcβ1→6Gal/GalNAc) showed robust F77 antigen expression, suggesting that F77 specifically binds to Fucα1→2Galβ1→4GlcNAcβ1→6Gal/GalNAc. RT-PCR for FUT1, GCNT1, GCNT2, and GCNT3 showed that F77-positive cell lines indeed express transcripts encoding FUT1 plus one GCNT. F77-positive prostate cancer cells transfected with siRNAs targeting FUT1, GCNT2, and GCNT3 showed significantly reduced F77 antigen, confirming the requirement of these enzymes for epitope synthesis. We also found that hypoxia induces F77 epitope expression in immortalized prostate RWPE1 cells, which express F77 antigen moderately under normoxia but at an elevated level under hypoxia. Quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated up-regulation of FUT1, GCNT2, and GCNT3 transcripts in RWPE1 cells under hypoxia, suggesting that hypoxia up-regulates glycosyltransferase expression required for F77 antigen synthesis. These results define the F77 epitope and provide a potential mechanism for F77 antigen synthesis in malignant prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC4047414  PMID: 24753248
Antigen; Carbohydrate Biosynthesis; Carbohydrate Structure; Glycobiology; Glycosyltransferase; Biomarker of Epithelial Cancer Cell; Cancer-associated Carbohydrate Antigen
11.  Metabolic Reprogramming and Validation of Hyperpolarized 13C Lactate as a Prostate Cancer Biomarker Using a Human Prostate Tissue Slice Culture Bioreactor 
The Prostate  2013;73(11):1171-1181.
The treatment of prostate cancer has been impeded by the lack of both clinically relevant disease models and metabolic markers that track tumor progression. Hyperpolarized (HP) 13C MR spectroscopy has emerged as a new technology to investigate the metabolic shifts in prostate cancer. In this study, we investigate the glucose reprogramming using HP 13C pyruvate MR in a patient-derived prostate tissue slice culture (TSC) model.
The steady-state metabolite concentrations in freshly excised human prostate TSCs were assessed and compared to those from snap-frozen biopsy samples. The TSCs were then applied to a perfused cell (bioreactor) platform, and the bioenergetics and the dynamic pyruvate flux of the TSCs were investigated by 31P and HP 13C MR, respectively.
The prostate TSCs demonstrated steady-state glycolytic and phospholipid metabolism, and bioenergetics that recapitulate features of prostate cancer in vivo. 13C spectra following injection of HP 13C pyruvate showed significantly increased pyruvate to lactate flux in malignant as compared to the benign prostate TSCs. This increased flux in the malignant prostate TSCs correlated with both increased expression of monocarboxylate transporters (MCT) and activity of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH).
We provide the first mechanistic evidence for HP 13C lactate as a prostate cancer biomarker in living human tissues, critical for the interpretation of in vivo studies. More broadly, the clinically relevant metabolic model system in combination with HP MR can facilitate the identification of clinically translatable biomarkers of prostate cancer presence, aggressiveness, and treatment response.
PMCID: PMC3976546  PMID: 23532911
translational biomarkers; metabolism, metabolic flux; magnetic resonance spectroscopy
12.  Patient-derived tissue slice grafts accurately depict response of high-risk primary prostate cancer to androgen deprivation therapy 
Effective eradication of high-risk primary prostate cancer (HRPCa) could significantly decrease mortality from prostate cancer. However, the discovery of curative therapies for HRPCa is hampered by the lack of authentic preclinical models.
We improved upon tumorgraft models that have been shown to predict drug response in other cancer types by implanting thin, precision-cut slices of HRPCa under the renal capsule of immunodeficient mice. Tissue slice grafts (TSGs) from 6 cases of HRPCa were established in mice. Following androgen deprivation by castration, TSGs were recovered and the presence and phenotype of cancer cells were evaluated.
High-grade cancer in TSGs generated from HRPCa displayed characteristic Gleason patterns and biomarker expression. Response to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) was as in humans, with some cases exhibiting complete pathologic regression and others showing resistance to castration. As in humans, ADT decreased cell proliferation and prostate-specific antigen expression in TSGs. Adverse pathological features of parent HRPCa were associated with lack of regression of cancer in corresponding TSGs after ADT. Castration-resistant cancer cells remaining in TSGs showed upregulated expression of androgen receptor target genes, as occurs in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) in humans. Finally, a rare subset of castration-resistant cancer cells in TSGs underwent epithelial-mesenchymal transition, a process also observed in CRPC in humans.
Our study demonstrates the feasibility of generating TSGs from multiple patients and of generating a relatively large number of TSGs from the same HRPCa specimen with similar cell composition and histology among control and experimental samples in an in vivo setting. The authentic response of TSGs to ADT, which has been extensively characterized in humans, suggests that TSGs can serve as a surrogate model for clinical trials to achieve rapid and less expensive screening of therapeutics for HRPCa and primary CRPC.
PMCID: PMC3766103  PMID: 23985008
Prostate cancer; Androgen deprivation therapy; Tumorgrafts
13.  The Current State of Preclinical Prostate Cancer Animal Models 
The Prostate  2008;68(6):629-639.
Prostate cancer continues to be a major cause of morbidity and mortality in men around the world. The field of prostate cancer research continues to be hindered by the lack of relevant preclinical models to study tumorigenesis and to further development of effective prevention and therapeutic strategies. The Prostate Cancer Foundation held a Prostate Cancer Models Working Group (PCMWG) Summit on August 6th and 7th, 2007 to address these issues. The PCMWG reviewed the state of prostate cancer preclinical models and identified the current limitations of cell line, xenograft and genetically engineered mouse models that have hampered the transition of scientific findings from these models to human clinical trials. In addition the PCMWG identified administrative issues that inhibit the exchange of models and impede greater interactions between academic centers and these centers with industry. The PCMWG identified potential solutions for discovery bottlenecks that include: (1) insufficient number of models with insufficient molecular and biologic diversity to reflect human cancer, (2) a lack of understanding of the molecular events that define tumorigenesis, (3) a lack of tools for studying tumor–host interactions, (4) difficulty in accessing model systems across institutions, and (5) addressing why preclinical studies appear not to be predictive of human clinical trials. It should be possible to apply the knowledge gained molecular and epigenetic studies to develop new cell lines and models that mimic progressive and fatal prostate cancer and ultimately improve interventions.
PMCID: PMC3681409  PMID: 18213636
mouse; genetically engineered; cell lines
14.  Suppression of Tak1 Promotes Prostate Tumorigenesis 
Cancer research  2012;72(11):2833-2843.
Over 30% of primary prostate cancers contain a consensus deletion of an approximately 800 kb locus on chromosome 6q15.1. The MAP3K7 gene, which encodes TGF-β Activated Kinase-1 (Tak1), is a putative prostate tumor suppressor gene within this region whose precise function remains obscure. In this study, we investigated the role of Tak1 in human and murine prostate cancers. In 50 well-characterized human cancer specimens, we found that Tak1 expression was progressively lost with increasing Gleason grade, both within each cancer and across all cancers. In murine prostate stem cells and Tak1-deficient prostatic epithelial cells, Tak1 loss increased proliferation, migration, and invasion. When prostate stem cells attenuated for Tak1 were engrafted with fetal urogenital mesenchyme, the histopathology of the grafts reflected the natural history of prostate cancer leading from prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia to invasive carcinoma. In the grafts containing Tak1-suppressed prostate stem cells, p38 and JNK activity was attenuated and proliferation was increased. Together, our findings functionally validate the proposed tumor suppressor role of Tak1 in prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC3654674  PMID: 22467172
Tak1; Prostate cancer; Tumor suppressor; Tissue recombination; TGF-β
15.  Induced Pluripotency of Human Prostatic Epithelial Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64503.
Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are a valuable resource for discovery of epigenetic changes critical to cell type-specific differentiation. Although iPS cells have been generated from other terminally differentiated cells, the reprogramming of normal adult human basal prostatic epithelial (E-PZ) cells to a pluripotent state has not been reported. Here, we attempted to reprogram E-PZ cells by forced expression of Oct4, Sox2, c-Myc, and Klf4 using lentiviral vectors and obtained embryonic stem cell (ESC)-like colonies at a frequency of 0.01%. These E-PZ-iPS-like cells with normal karyotype gained expression of pluripotent genes typical of iPS cells (Tra-1-81, SSEA-3, Nanog, Sox2, and Oct4) and lost gene expression characteristic of basal prostatic epithelial cells (CK5, CK14, and p63). E-PZ-iPS-like cells demonstrated pluripotency by differentiating into ectodermal, mesodermal, and endodermal cells in vitro, although lack of teratoma formation in vivo and incomplete demethylation of pluripotency genes suggested only partial reprogramming. Importantly, E-PZ-iPS-like cells re-expressed basal epithelial cell markers (CD44, p63, MAO-A) in response to prostate-specific medium in spheroid culture. Androgen induced expression of androgen receptor (AR), and co-culture with rat urogenital sinus further induced expression of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a hallmark of secretory cells, suggesting that E-PZ-iPS-like cells have the capacity to differentiate into prostatic basal and secretory epithelial cells. Finally, when injected into mice, E-PZ-iPS-like cells expressed basal epithelial cell markers including CD44 and p63. When co-injected with rat urogenital mesenchyme, E-PZ-iPS-like cells expressed AR and expression of p63 and CD44 was repressed. DNA methylation profiling identified epigenetic changes in key pathways and genes involved in prostatic differentiation as E-PZ-iPS-like cells converted to differentiated AR- and PSA-expressing cells. Our results suggest that iPS-like cells derived from prostatic epithelial cells are pluripotent and capable of prostatic differentiation; therefore, provide a novel model for investigating epigenetic changes involved in prostate cell lineage specification.
PMCID: PMC3661502  PMID: 23717621
16.  Cell surface glycoproteomic analysis of prostate cancer-derived PC-3 cells 
Most clinically approved biomarkers of cancer are glycoproteins, and those residing on the cell surface are of particular interest in biotherapeutics. We report a method for selective labeling, affinity enrichment, and identification of cell-surface glycoproteins. PC-3 cells and primary human prostate cancer tissue were treated with peracetylated N-azidoacetylgalactosamine, resulting in metabolic labeling of cell surface glycans with the azidosugar. We used mass spectrometry to identify over 70 cell surface glycoproteins and biochemically validated CD146 and integrin beta-4, both of which are known to promote metastatic behavior. These results establish cell-surface glycoproteomics as an effective technique for discovery of cancer biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC3341932  PMID: 21798741
Metabolic labeling; Glycoproteomics; Prostate cancer; Azidosugar; Tissue slice cultures
17.  The Alternative Splice Variant of Protein Tyrosine Kinase 6 Negatively Regulates Growth and Enhances PTK6-Mediated Inhibition of β-Catenin 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(3):e14789.
Protein tyrosine kinase 6 (PTK6), also called breast tumor kinase (BRK), is expressed in epithelial cells of various tissues including the prostate. Previously it was shown that PTK6 is localized to epithelial cell nuclei in normal prostate, but becomes cytoplasmic in human prostate tumors. PTK6 is also primarily cytoplasmic in the PC3 prostate adenocarcinoma cell line. Sequencing revealed expression of wild type full-length PTK6 transcripts in addition to an alternative transcript lacking exon 2 in PC3 cells. The alternative transcript encodes a 134 amino acid protein, referred to here as ALT-PTK6, which shares the first 77 amino acid residues including the SH3 domain with full length PTK6. RT-PCR was used to show that ALT-PTK6 is coexpressed with full length PTK6 in established human prostate and colon cell lines, as well as in primary cell lines derived from human prostate tissue and tumors. Although interaction between full-length PTK6 and ALT-PTK6 was not detected, ALT-PTK6 associates with the known PTK6 substrates Sam68 and β-catenin in GST pull-down assays. Coexpression of PTK6 and ALT-PTK6 led to suppression of PTK6 activity and reduced association of PTK6 with tyrosine phosphorylated proteins. While ALT-PTK6 alone did not influence β-catenin/TCF transcriptional activity in a luciferase reporter assay, it enhanced PTK6-mediated inhibition of β-catenin/TCF transcription by promoting PTK6 nuclear functions. Ectopic expression of ALT-PTK6 led to reduced expression of the β-catenin/TCF targets Cyclin D1 and c-Myc in PC3 cells. Expression of tetracycline-inducible ALT-PTK6 blocked the proliferation and colony formation of PC3 cells. Our findings suggest that ALT-PTK6 is able to negatively regulate growth and modulate PTK6 activity, protein-protein associations and/or subcellular localization. Fully understanding functions of ALT-PTK6 and its impact on PTK6 signaling will be critical for development of therapeutic strategies that target PTK6 in cancer.
PMCID: PMC3068133  PMID: 21479203
18.  Methods for metabolic evaluation of prostate cancer cells using proton and 13C HR-MAS spectroscopy and [3-13C] pyruvate as a metabolic substrate 
Prostate cancer has been shown to undergo unique metabolic changes associated with neoplastic transformation, with associated changes in citrate, alanine, and lactate concentrations. 13C HR-MAS spectroscopy provides an opportunity to simultaneously investigate the metabolic pathways implicated in these changes by using 13C labeled substrates as metabolic probes. In this work, a method to reproducibly interrogate metabolism in prostate cancer cells in primary culture was developed using HR-MAS spectroscopy. Optimization of cell culture protocols, labeling parameters, harvesting, storage, and transfer was performed. Using [3-13C] pyruvate as a metabolic probe, 1H and 13C HR-MAS spectroscopy were used to quantify the net amount and fractional enrichment of several labeled metabolites that evolved in multiple cell samples from each of five different prostate cancers. Average enrichment across all cancers was 32.4±5.4% for [3-13C] alanine, 24.5±5.4% for [4-13C] glutamate, 9.1±2.5% for [3-13C] glutamate, 25.2±5.7% for [3-13C] aspartate, and 4.2±1.0% for [3-13C] lactate. Cell samples from the same parent population demonstrated reproducible fractional enrichments of alanine, glutamate, and aspartate to within 12%, 10%, and 10%, respectively. Furthermore, the cells produced a significant amount of [4-13C] glutamate, which supports the bioenergetic theory for prostate cancer. These methods will allow further characterization of metabolic properties of prostate cancer cells in the future.
PMCID: PMC2783184  PMID: 19780158
19.  Targeting monoamine oxidase A in advanced prostate cancer 
Inhibitors of monoamine oxidase A (MAOA), a mitochondrial enzyme that degrades neurotransmitters including serotonin and norepinephrine, are commonly used to treat neurological conditions including depression. Recently, we and others identified high expression of MAOA in normal basal prostatic epithelium and high-grade primary prostate cancer (PCa). In contrast, MAOA is low in normal secretory prostatic epithelium and low-grade PCa. An irreversible inhibitor of MAOA, clorgyline, induced secretory differentiation in primary cultures of normal basal epithelial cells and high-grade PCa. Furthermore, clorgyline inhibited several oncogenic pathways in PCa cells, suggesting clinical value of MAOA inhibitors as a pro-differentiation and anti-oncogenic therapy for high-risk PCa. Here, we extended our studies to a model of advanced PCa, VCaP cells, which were derived from castration-resistant metastatic PCa and express a high level of MAOA.
Growth of VCaP cells in the presence or absence of clorgyline was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. Gene expression changes in response to clorgyline were determined by microarray and validated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Treatment with clorgyline in vitro inhibited growth and altered the transcriptional pattern of VCaP cells in a manner consistent with the pro-differentiation and anti-oncogenic effects seen in treated primary PCa cells. Src, beta-catenin, and MAPK oncogenic pathways, implicated in androgen-independent growth and metastasis, were significantly downregulated. Clorgyline treatment of mice bearing VCaP xenografts slowed tumor growth and induced transcriptome changes similar to those noted in vitro.
Our results support the possibility that anti-depressant drugs that target MAOA might find a new application in treating PCa.
PMCID: PMC2945406  PMID: 20204405
Prostate cancer; Monoamine oxidase; Differentiation; Oncogenes; Androgen
20.  The elevated expression of a mismatch repair protein is a predictor for biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy 
The inability to predict clinical outcome of prostate cancer is a major impediment to effective treatment decisions and patient counseling. New markers of recurrence are needed to improve the accuracy of risk assessment and treatment of prostate cancer. Our previous studies identified a mismatch repair protein, PMS2, to be elevated in prostate cancer; here we investigate the prognostic potential of this marker. We hypothesized that the elevation of PMS2 would correlate with disease outcome.
Retrospective quantitative immunohistochemistry was performed to measure PMS2 in high grade cancers of 166 men treated by radical prostatectomy with a biochemical recurrence rate of 56%. Associations between PMS2 levels, pathological variables and biochemical recurrence over time were determined.
The mean level of PMS2 protein was consistently higher in both cancer-associated benign epithelium and cancer cells of patients who recurred, compared to non-recurrent patients. PMS2 was an independent predictor of time-to-recurrence in Cox multivariate analyses and significantly stratified patients based on outcome. PMS2 was able to improve the sensitivity of total percent Gleason 4/5 as a risk factor for recurrence in this cohort.
PMS2 protein levels were shown to be a predictor of time-to-recurrence after surgery. This study is the first to document that the elevation of a mismatch repair protein negatively correlates with prognosis and has implications in patient diagnosis and molecular profiling.
PMCID: PMC2701238  PMID: 19124481
prostate cancer; clinical biomarker; mismatch repair; PMS2; risk factor
21.  Inhibition of monoamine oxidase A promotes secretory differentiation in basal prostatic epithelial cells 
Monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) expression is associated with high-grade prostate cancer. Immunohistochemistry showed that MAO-A is also expressed in the basal epithelial cells of normal prostate glands. Using cultured primary prostatic epithelial cells as a model, we showed that MAO-A prevents basal epithelial cells from differentiating into secretory cells. Under differentiation-promoting conditions, clorgyline, an irreversible MAO-A inhibitor, induced secretory cell-like morphology and repressed expression of cytokeratin 14, a basal cell marker. More importantly, clorgyline induced mRNA and protein expression of androgen receptor (AR), a hallmark of secretory epithelial cells. In clorgyline-treated cells, androgen induced luciferase activity controlled by the promoter of prostate-specific antigen, an AR target gene, in a dose-dependent manner. This activity was blocked by the AR antagonist Casodex, showing that AR is functional. In turn, androgen decreased MAO-A expression in clorgyline-treated, secretory-like cells. Our results demonstrated that cultured basal epithelial cells have the potential to differentiate into secretory cells, and that inhibition of MAO-A is a key factor in promoting this process. Increased expression of MAO-A in high-grade prostate cancer may be an important contributor to its de-differentiated phenotype, raising the possibility that MAO-A inhibition may restore differentiation and reverse the aggressive behavior of high-grade cancer.
PMCID: PMC2760409  PMID: 18248494
monoamine oxidase A; secretory differentiation; clorgyline; prostatic epithelial cells; androgen receptor
22.  The Significance of Monoamine Oxidase-A Expression in High Grade Prostate Cancer 
The Journal of urology  2008;180(5):2206-2211.
Gleason grade 4/5 prostate cancer is a determinant for recurrence following radical prostatectomy. Monoamine oxidase-A is over expressed in grade 4/5 compared to grade 3 cancer. Monoamine oxidase-A is also expressed by normal basal cells and in vitro studies suggest that its function is to repress secretory differentiation. Therefore, monoamine oxidase-A in grade 4/5 cancer might reflect dedifferentiation to a basal cell-like phenotype. We investigated whether monoamine oxidase-A expression correlates with another basal cell protein, CD44, in high grade cancer and whether either is associated with an aggressive phenotype.
Materials and Methods
A total of 133 grade 4/5 archival cancers from a cohort previously used to evaluate the prognostic significance of histomorphological variables were scored for monoamine oxidase-A and CD44 immunohistochemical labeling. Spearman rank correlations of the proteins, and histomorphological and clinical variables were determined. The univariate and multivariate value of each variable as a determinant of biochemical recurrence was assessed by logistic regression.
Monoamine oxidase-A expression correlated with CD44. Neither was prognostic for biochemical recurrence. However, monoamine oxidase-A expression positively correlated with preoperative serum prostate specific antigen and the percent of grade 4/5 cancer.
Concurrent expression of monoamine oxidase-A and CD44 suggests that grade 4/5 cancer may be basal cell-like in nature, despite the absence of other classic basal cell biomarkers such as cytokeratins 5 and 14, and p63. The correlation of monoamine oxidase-A expression with prostate specific antigen and the percent of grade 4/5 cancer suggests that monoamine oxidase-A may contribute to growth of high grade cancer and that antidepressant drugs that target monoamine oxidase-A may have applications in treating prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC2743604  PMID: 18804811
prostate; monoamine oxidase; neoplasm recurrence, local; adenocarcinoma; CD44 protein, human
23.  Anti-oncogenic and pro-differentiation effects of clorgyline, a monoamine oxidase A inhibitor, on high grade prostate cancer cells 
BMC Medical Genomics  2009;2:55.
Monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A), a mitochondrial enzyme that degrades monoamines including neurotransmitters, is highly expressed in basal cells of the normal human prostatic epithelium and in poorly differentiated (Gleason grades 4 and 5), aggressive prostate cancer (PCa). Clorgyline, an MAO-A inhibitor, induces secretory differentiation of normal prostate cells. We examined the effects of clorgyline on the transcriptional program of epithelial cells cultured from high grade PCa (E-CA).
We systematically assessed gene expression changes induced by clorgyline in E-CA cells using high-density oligonucleotide microarrays. Genes differentially expressed in treated and control cells were identified by Significance Analysis of Microarrays. Expression of genes of interest was validated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction.
The expression of 156 genes was significantly increased by clorgyline at all time points over the time course of 6 – 96 hr identified by Significance Analysis of Microarrays (SAM). The list is enriched with genes repressed in 7 of 12 oncogenic pathway signatures compiled from the literature. In addition, genes downregulated ≥ 2-fold by clorgyline were significantly enriched with those upregulated by key oncogenes including beta-catenin and ERBB2, indicating an anti-oncogenic effect of clorgyline. Another striking effect of clorgyline was the induction of androgen receptor (AR) and classic AR target genes such as prostate-specific antigen together with other secretory epithelial cell-specific genes, suggesting that clorgyline promotes differentiation of cancer cells. Moreover, clorgyline downregulated EZH2, a critical component of the Polycomb Group (PcG) complex that represses the expression of differentiation-related genes. Indeed, many genes in the PcG repression signature that predicts PCa outcome were upregulated by clorgyline, suggesting that the differentiation-promoting effect of clorgyline may be mediated by its downregulation of EZH2.
Our results suggest that inhibitors of MAO-A, already in clinical use to treat depression, may have potential application as therapeutic PCa drugs by inhibiting oncogenic pathway activity and promoting differentiation.
PMCID: PMC2736984  PMID: 19691856
24.  Centrosomal PKCβII and pericentrin are critical for human prostate cancer growth and angiogenesis 
Cancer research  2008;68(16):6831-6839.
Angiogenesis is critical in the progression of prostate cancer. However, the interplay between the proliferation kinetics of tumor endothelial cells (angiogenesis) and tumor cells has not been investigated. Also, protein kinase C (PKC) regulates various aspects of tumor cell growth but its role in prostate cancer has not been investigated in detail. Here, we found that the proliferation rates of endothelial and tumor cells oscillate asynchronously during the growth of human prostate cancer xenografts. Furthermore, our analyses suggest that PKCβII was activated during increased angiogenesis and that PKCβII plays a key role in the proliferation of endothelial cells and tumor cells in human prostate cancer; treatment with a PKCβII-selective inhibitor, βIIV5-3, reduced angiogenesis and tumor cell proliferation. We also find a unique effect of PKCβII inhibition on normalizing pericentrin (a protein regulating cytokinesis), especially in endothelial cells as well as in tumor cells. PKCβII inhibition reduced the level and mislocalization of pericentrin and normalized microtubule organization in the tumor endothelial cells. Although pericentrin has been known to be upregulated in epithelial cells of prostate cancers, its level in tumor endothelium has not been studied in detail. We found that pericentrin is upregulated in human tumor endothelium compared with endothelium adjacent to normal glands in tissues from prostate cancer patients. Our results suggest that a PKCβII inhibitor such as βIIV5-3 may be used to reduce prostate cancer growth by targeting both angiogenesis and tumor cell growth.
PMCID: PMC2597632  PMID: 18701509
25.  Topology of NGEP, a Prostate Specific Cell:Cell Junction Protein Widely Expressed in Many Cancers of Different Grade Level 
Cancer research  2008;68(15):6306-6312.
NGEP (New Gene Expressed in Prostate) is a prostate specific polytopic membrane protein found at high concentrations at cell:cell contact regions. To determine if NGEP is a useful target for antibody based therapy of prostate cancer we performed an immunohistochemical analysis of 126 human prostate carcinoma samples using a polyclonal anti-NGEP sera and found that 91% of the cancers express NGEP protein. To elucidate the topology of NGEP and guide the development of monoclonal antibodies (MAb) reacting with the extracellular regions of NGEP, an HA epitope tag was inserted at several positions within the NGEP sequence. The tagged proteins were expressed in 293T cells and locations of the tags were determined by immunofluorescence in intact or permeabilized cells. The results indicate that NGEP contains 8 transmembrane ™ domains with both the N-and C-termini of NGEP located inside the cell. We produced MAb to three regions that are predicted to be intracellular based on the epitope tag data (a.a. 1–352, 441–501 and 868–933) and as predicted the MAb only detected the protein in permeabilized cells. NGEP is a glycoprotein with predicted glycosylation sites at N809 and N824. When these residues were converted to glutamine, glycosylation was abolished confirming the residues are extracellular. Our findings on the expression and the orientation of the NGEP protein serve as an important framework for the development of MAb targeting the extracellular regions of NGEP that could be used for prostate cancer immunotherapy.
PMCID: PMC2562772  PMID: 18676855
prostate cancer; immunotherapy; plasma membrane protein; TMEM16E; N-glycosylation

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