Androgen receptor (AR) plays a pivotal role in prostate cancer, primarily by regulating different gene expression programs elicited by androgen, which is important for cancer cell proliferation, survival, and differentiation. It is believed that the transcriptional function of AR is mediated largely by distinct nuclear coregulators. We report here the identification of ANCCA (also known as ATAD2), a new member of the AAA+ ATPase family proteins, as a novel AR coactivator. ANCCA interacts directly with AR and enhances its transcriptional activity, and is required for androgen-stimulated expression of a specific subgroup of genes including IGF1R, IRS-2, SGK1, and survivin. Upon androgen stimulation, ANCCA together with AR is recruited to the specific AR target genes. Suppression of ANCCA expression strongly inhibited the proliferation of androgen-responsive or androgenindependent, AR-positive prostate cancer cells and caused a significant increase of cellular apoptosis. Strikingly, the ANCCA gene itself, located at chromosome 8q24, is highly induced by androgen in androgen-dependent prostate cancer cells and xenograft tumors. Although ANCCA is hardly detected in normal human prostate tissue, high levels of ANCCA are found in hormone-independent prostate cancer cell lines, xenograft tumor, and a subset of prostate cancers with high Gleason scores. Together, these findings suggest that ANCCA plays an important role in prostate cancer by mediating specific AR functions in cancer cell survival and proliferation. The possession of ATPase and bromodomain by ANCCA makes it an attractive target for the development of therapeutics for the disease.
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