The Ets proteins are a family of transcription factors characterized by an evolutionarily conserved DNA binding domain that controls key cellular processes. Prostate-derived Ets transcription factor (PDEF), a member of the Ets family, is reported to be present in tissues with high epithelial content, notably breast and prostate. However, the role of PDEF in cancer development is not fully understood. To gain insight into the molecular mechanisms associated with prostate cancer progression, we employed iTRAQ labeling followed by mass spectrometric (MS) analysis to identify candidate proteins that are differentially expressed in prostate cancer cells with or without PDEF. To this end, we overexpressed PDEF in PC3 human prostate cells using a tetracycline inducible system (Tet-On). Many differentially expressed proteins which play important roles in various cellular and biological processes were identified. Among them, stathmin (STMN), which is a microtubule (MT)-destabilizing protein, was found to be downregulated in multiple analyses. We demonstrated that re-expression of STMN reversed the antitumor properties of PDEF in PDEF-overexpressing PC3 cells. Using in vitro functional assays, we showed that STMN overexpression counteracted PDEF's effects against cell proliferation, colony formation and tumor migration. Similar results were further confirmed with the prostate cancer cell line CWR22rv1. In conclusion, many differentially expressed proteins were identified and STMN was found to be downregulated by PDEF. These results suggest that PDEF may inhibit prostate cancer progression by transcriptional downregulation of oncogenic STMN expression. Analyzing the association among differentially expressed proteins may provide a basis to better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the process of cancer progression and development and further aid in designing therapeutics in the future.
- Mass spectrometry
- Prostate cancer
- Prostate-derived Ets transcription factor
- iTRAQ labeling