A novel nuclear role for the Vav3 nucleotide exchange factor in androgen receptor coactivation in prostate cancer

S. Rao, L. S. Lyons, C. D. Fahrenholtz, F. Wu, A. Farooq, W. Balkan, K. L. Burnstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Increased androgen receptor (AR) transcriptional activity mediated by coactivator proteins may drive castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) growth. Vav3, a Rho GTPase guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF), is overexpressed in human prostate cancers, particularly in models of CRPC progression. Vav3 coactivates AR in a Vav3 pleckstrin homology (PH) domain-dependent but GEF-independent manner. Ectopic expression of Vav3 in androgen-dependent human prostate cancer cells conferred robust castration-resistant xenograft tumor growth. Vav3 but not a Vav3 PH mutant greatly stimulated interaction between the AR amino and carboxyl termini (N-C interaction), which is required for maximal receptor transcriptional activity. Vav3 was distributed between the cytoplasm and nucleus with nuclear localization-dependent on the Vav3 PH domain. Membrane targeting of Vav3 abolished Vav3 potentiation of AR activity, whereas nuclear targeting of a Vav3 PH mutant rescued AR coactivation, suggesting that nuclear localization is an important function of the Vav3 PH domain. A nuclear role for Vav3 was further demonstrated by sequential chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, which revealed that Vav3 and AR were recruited to the same transcriptional complexes of an AR target gene enhancer. These data demonstrate the importance of Vav3 in CRPC and define a novel nuclear function of Vav3 in regulating AR activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)716-727
Number of pages12
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • androgen receptor
  • castration-resistant prostate cancer
  • coactivator
  • guanine nucleotide exchange factor
  • pleckstrin homology
  • Vav3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics


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