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Mark A White, Efrosini Tsouko, Chenchu Lin, Kimal Rajapakshe, Jeffrey M Spencer, Sandi R Wilkenfeld, Sheiva S Vakili, Thomas L Pulliam, Dominik Awad, Fotis Nikolos, Rajasekhara Reddy Katreddy, Benny Abraham Kaipparettu, Arun Sreekumar, Xiaoliu Zhang, Edwin Cheung, Cristian Coarfa, and Daniel E Frigo

Despite altered metabolism being an accepted hallmark of cancer, it is still not completely understood which signaling pathways regulate these processes. Given the central role of androgen receptor (AR) signaling in prostate cancer, we hypothesized that AR could promote prostate cancer cell growth in part through increasing glucose uptake via the expression of distinct glucose transporters. Here, we determined that AR directly increased the expression of SLC2A12, the gene that encodes the glucose transporter GLUT12. In support of these findings, gene signatures of AR activity correlated with SLC2A12 expression in multiple clinical cohorts. Functionally, GLUT12 was required for maximal androgen-mediated glucose uptake and cell growth in LNCaP and VCaP cells. Knockdown of GLUT12 also decreased the growth of C4-2, 22Rv1 and AR-negative PC-3 cells. This latter observation corresponded with a significant reduction in glucose uptake, indicating that additional signaling mechanisms could augment GLUT12 function in an AR-independent manner. Interestingly, GLUT12 trafficking to the plasma membrane was modulated by calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase kinase 2 (CaMKK2)-5′-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling, a pathway we previously demonstrated to be a downstream effector of AR. Inhibition of CaMKK2-AMPK signaling decreased GLUT12 translocation to the plasma membrane by inhibiting the phosphorylation of TBC1D4, a known regulator of glucose transport. Further, AR increased TBC1D4 expression. Correspondingly, expression of TBC1D4 correlated with AR activity in prostate cancer patient samples. Taken together, these data demonstrate that prostate cancer cells can increase the functional levels of GLUT12 through multiple mechanisms to promote glucose uptake and subsequent cell growth.

Open access

Salma Kaochar, Aleksandra Rusin, Christopher Foley, Kimal Rajapakshe, Matthew Robertson, Darlene Skapura, Cammy Mason, Karen Berman De Ruiz, Alexey Mikhailovich Tyryshkin, Jenny Deng, Jin Na Shin, Warren Fiskus, Jianrong Dong, Shixia Huang, Nora M Navone, Christel M Davis, Erik A Ehli, Cristian Coarfa, and Nicholas Mitsiades

Castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) remains highly lethal and in need of novel, actionable therapeutic targets. The pioneer factor GATA2 is a significant prostate cancer (PC) driver and is linked to poor prognosis. GATA2 directly promotes androgen receptor (AR) gene expression (both full-length and splice-variant) and facilitates AR binding to chromatin, recruitment of coregulators, and target gene transcription. Unfortunately, there is no clinically applicable GATA2 inhibitor available at the moment. Using a bioinformatics algorithm, we screened in silico 2650 clinically relevant drugs for a potential GATA2 inhibitor. Validation studies used cytotoxicity and proliferation assays, global gene expression analysis, RT-qPCR, reporter assay, reverse phase protein array analysis (RPPA), and immunoblotting. We examined target engagement via cellular thermal shift assay (CETSA), ChIP-qPCR, and GATA2 DNA-binding assay. We identified the vasodilator dilazep as a potential GATA2 inhibitor and confirmed on-target activity via CETSA. Dilazep exerted anticancer activity across a broad panel of GATA2-dependent PC cell lines in vitro and in a PDX model in vivo. Dilazep inhibited GATA2 recruitment to chromatin and suppressed the cell-cycle program, transcriptional programs driven by GATA2, AR, and c-MYC, and the expression of several oncogenic drivers, including AR, c-MYC, FOXM1, CENPF, EZH2, UBE2C, and RRM2, as well as of several mediators of metastasis, DNA damage repair, and stemness. In conclusion, we provide, via an extensive compendium of methodologies, proof-of-principle that a small molecule can inhibit GATA2 function and suppress its downstream AR, c-MYC, and other PC-driving effectors. We propose GATA2 as a therapeutic target in CRPC.