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Both androgen receptor (AR) and the ZFHX3 transcription factor modulate prostate development. While AR drives prostatic carcinogenesis, ZFHX3 is a tumour suppressor whose loss activates the PI3K/AKT signalling in advanced prostate cancer (PCa). However, it is unknown whether ZFHX3 and AR are functionally related in PCa cells and, if so, how. Here, we report that in AR-positive LNCaP and C4-2B PCa cells, androgen upregulates ZFHX3 transcription via androgen-induced AR binding to the androgen-responsive elements (AREs) of the ZFHX3 promoter. Androgen also upregulated ZFHX3 transcription in vivo, as castration dramatically reduced Zfhx3 mRNA and protein levels in mouse prostates, and ZFHX3 mRNA levels correlated with AR activities in human PCa. Interestingly, the binding of AR to one ARE occurred in the absence of androgen, and the binding repressed ZFHX3 transcription as this repressive binding was interrupted by androgen treatment. The enzalutamide antiandrogen prevented androgen from inducing ZFHX3 transcription and caused excess ZFHX3 protein degradation. In human PCa, ZFHX3 was downregulated and the downregulation correlated with worse patient survival. These findings establish a regulatory relationship between AR and ZFHX3, suggest a role of ZFHX3 in AR function and implicate ZFHX3 loss in the antiandrogen therapies of PCa. © 2021 The Authors. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine published by Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Xing Fu, Zhiqian Zhang, Mingcheng Liu, Juan Li, Jun A, Liya Fu, Chenyang Huang, Jin-Tang Dong. AR imposes different effects on ZFHX3 transcription depending on androgen status in prostate cancer cells. Journal of cellular and molecular medicine. 2022 Feb;26(3):800-812

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PMID: 34953044

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