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Arvind Thakkar, Ahmed Aljameeli, Shibu Thomas and Girish V Shah

Expression of neuropeptide calcitonin (CT) and its receptor (CTR) is frequently elevated in prostate cancers (PCs) and activation of CT–CTR axis in non-invasive PC cells induces an invasive phenotype. Specific, cell-permeable inhibitors of protein kinase A abolish CTR-stimulated invasion of PC cells. Since PKA is ubiquitously distributed in cells, the present study examined the mechanism(s) by which CTR-stimulated PKA activity is regulated in time and space. CT reduced cell adhesion but increased invasion of PC cells. Both these actions were abolished by st-Ht31 inhibitory peptide suggesting the involvement of an A-kinase anchoring protein (AKAP) in CT action. Next, we identified the AKAP associated with CT action by the subtraction of potential AKAP candidates using siRNAs. Knock-down of membrane-associated AKAP2, but not other AKAPs, abolished CT-stimulated invasion. Stable knock-down of AKAP2 in PC3-CTR cells remarkably decreased their cell proliferation, invasion, clonogenicity and ability to form orthotopic tumors and distant metastases in nude mice. Re-expression of AKAP2-wt restored these characteristics. Primary PC specimens displayed remarkable upregulation of CTR/AKAP2 expression as compared to benign prostates. Metastatic cancers displayed significantly higher CTR/AKAP2 expression than localized cancers. These results for the first time demonstrate that AKAP2 is expressed in human prostates, its expression is elevated in metastatic prostate cancer, and the knock-down of its expression remarkably decreased tumorigenicity and metastatic ability of prostate cancer cells. AKAP2 may serve as a critical component of CTR-mediated oncogenic actions.

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Afaf Aldahish, Ajay Kale, Ahmed Aljameeli and Girish V Shah

Stem cell-like-cancer cells are key drivers of tumor growth, metastasis, and relapse of cancer following remission. Prostate stem cell-like cancer cells isolated from human prostate cancer (PC) biopsies express CD44+2β1 hi/CD133+ cell surface markers and can self-renew in vitro. Expression of calcitonin (CT) and its receptor (CTR) is frequently elevated in PCs and activation of CT-CTR axis in non-invasive PC cells induces an invasive phenotype. We investigated whether CT-CTR autocrine axis induces stem cell-like phenotype in two PC cell lines. CT-CTR axis in these cell lines was activated by enforced expression of CTR. The cells were then examined for the changes in the expression of CD44 and CD133, collagen adherence, tumorigenic, metastatic and repopulating characteristics. The activation of CT-CTR axis led to a large increase in adherence to collagen and a remarkable increase of CD44 and CD133 in PC-3 and LNCaP cells. This was accompanied by a strong increase in tumorigenic, metastatic and repopulation properties of PC cells. However, the mutation of CTR-C PDZ-binding site in CTR almost abolished CTR-mediated increases in stem cell-like characteristics of PC cells. These results support an important role for CT-CTR axis in the progression of PC from localized cancer to an aggressive form, and a majority of proinvasive CTR actions may be mediated through its interaction with its partner protein at the PDZ-binding site. These results suggest that CT/CTR can serve as a valuable target to prevent the generation of stem-like PC cells.

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Girish V Shah, Shibu Thomas, Anbalagan Muralidharan, Yong Liu, Paul L Hermonat, Jill Williams and Jaideep Chaudhary

Expression of calcitonin (CT) and its receptor (CTR) is elevated in advanced prostate cancer (PC). Although the significance of CT–CTR axis in PC cell growth, invasion, and epithelial to mesenchymal transition has been established, its role in tumor metastasis has not been examined. To examine the role of CT–CTR axis in tumor metastasis, we employed stable CT–CTR activated and silenced system of three PC cell lines, LNCaP cells that lack endogenous CT, PC-3 cells that lack endogenous CTR, and PC-3M cells that co-express CT and CTR. Enforced expression of CT in LNCaP cells and CTR in PC-3 cells increased their ability to form orthotopic tumors and distant metastases in multiple organs. By contrast, silencing of CT expression in PC-3M cells not only reduced their tumorigenicity, but also completely abrogated their metastatic potential. To investigate the effect of in vivo silencing of CT expression on tumor growth, we employed recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) to deliver anti-CT ribozymes in preexisting tumors of nude mice and large probasin promoter (LPB)-Tag transgenic mice. rAAV-CT treatment not only abrogated the growth of pre-implanted tumors in nude mice, but also significantly reduced the growth of spontaneous tumors in LPB-Tag mice. Analysis of CT upregulated and silenced PC-3M transcriptomes revealed 105 genes affected by the modulation of CT expression. These CT signature genes generated survival, adhesion, pro-inflammatory, and pro-metastatic pathways. Added together, these data indicate a pivotal role for CT–CTR axis in PC metastasis and may serve as a potential therapeutic target for advanced PC.