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Keywords:

  • EGR-1;
  • PC-3;
  • BPH-1;
  • phosphorylation;
  • DNA binding;
  • prostate cancer

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Expression of the early growth response gene-1 (EGR-1) is elevated in prostate cancer and correlates with tumor progression. This study provides insight into the mechanism(s) that regulate EGR-1 expression and activity in malignant and benign prostate cells.

METHODS

Western blotting and in vitro pulse labeling were used to examine EGR-1 protein levels and half-life in malignant (PC-3) and benign (BPH-1) prostate cell lines. EGR-1 functional ability was assessed by transient transfections with an EGR-1 promoter driven luciferase plasmid and electromobility shift assays (EMSAs) to assess DNA binding of the EGR-1 protein. Protein levels of casein kinase II (CKII) were evaluated by Western blotting.

RESULTS

PC-3 cells maintain high steady-state levels of EGR-1 protein, in part due to a longer half-life of EGR-1 protein. BPH-1 cells responded to mitogenic stimuli with increased EGR-1 protein levels, and enhanced transcriptional activity. In contrast, PC-3 cells showed no response to stimuli. DNA binding of EGR-1 was higher in BPH-1 cells than in PC-3 cells. This appears to be related to the heavily phosphorylated state of EGR-1 in PC-3 cells which is correlated with increased levels of CKII found in these cells.

CONCLUSIONS

PC-3 cells maintain a long lasting, heavily phosphorylated pool of EGR-1, which binds poorly to DNA and responds poorly to mitogenic stimulus. BPH-1 cells, in contrast, maintain a more responsive, less phosphorylated EGR-1 pool. These findings suggest that EGR-1 expression and activity is differentially regulated in PC-3 and BPH-1 cell lines. © 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.