The androgen receptor (AR) is a critical transcription factor in prostate cancer (PC) pathogenesis. Its activity in malignant cells is dependent on interactions with a diverse set of co-regulators. These interactions fluctuate depending on androgen availability. For example, the androgen depletion increases the dependence of castration-resistant PCs (CRPCs) on the ACK1 and HOXB13 cell survival pathways. Activated ACK1, an oncogenic tyrosine kinase, phosphorylates cytosolic and nuclear proteins, thereby avoiding the inhibitory growth consequences of androgen depletion. Notably, ACK1-mediated phosphorylation of histone H4, which leads to epigenetic upregulation of AR expression, has emerged as a critical mechanism of CRPC resistance to anti-androgens. This resistance can be targeted using the ACK1-selective small-molecule kinase inhibitor (R)-9b. CRPCs also deploy the bromodomain and extra-terminal domain protein BRD4 to epigenetically increase HOXB13 gene expression, which in turn activates the MYC target genes AURKA/AURKB. HOXB13 also facilitates ligand-independent recruitment of the AR splice variant AR-V7 to chromatin, compensating for the loss of the chromatin remodeling protein, CHD1, and restricting expression of the mitosis control gene HSPB8. These studies highlight the crosstalk between AR–ACK1 and AR–HOXB13 pathways as key mediators of CRPC recurrence.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNAR Cancer
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


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