Loss of PTEN Accelerates NKX3.1 Degradation to Promote Prostate Cancer Progression.

Bowen C, Ostrowski MC, Leone G, Gelmann EP. 2019. Loss of PTEN Accelerates NKX3.1 Degradation to Promote Prostate Cancer Progression. Cancer Res. 79:4124–4134. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-4110.

is the most commonly deleted gene in prostate cancer and a gatekeeper suppressor. NKX3.1 is a growth suppressor, mediator of apoptosis, inducer of antioxidants, and enhancer of DNA repair. PTEN is a ubiquitous tumor suppressor that is often decreased in prostate cancer during tumor progression. Steady-state turnover of NKX3.1 is mediated by DYRK1B phosphorylation at NKX3.1 serine 185 that leads to polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. In this study, we show PTEN is an NKX3.1 phosphatase that protects NKX3.1 from degradation. PTEN specifically opposed phosphorylation at NKX3.1(S185) and prolonged NKX3.1 half-life. PTEN and NKX3.1 interacted primarily in the nucleus as loss of PTEN nuclear localization abrogated its ability to bind to and protect NKX3.1 from degradation. The effect of PTEN on NKX3.1 was mediated via rapid enzyme-substrate interaction. An effect of PTEN on gene transcription was seen , but not . In gene-targeted mice, Nkx3.1 expression significantly diminished shortly after loss of Pten expression in the prostate. Nkx3.1 loss primarily increased prostate epithelial cell proliferation . In these mice, mRNA was not affected by Pten expression. Thus, the prostate cancer suppressors PTEN and NKX3.1 interact and loss of PTEN is responsible, at least in part, for progressive loss of NKX3.1 that occurs during tumor progression. SIGNIFICANCE: PTEN functions as a phosphatase of NKX3.1, a gatekeeper suppressor of prostate cancer.