Reduced Arginyltransferase 1 is a driver and a potential prognostic indicator of prostate cancer metastasis

Michael D. Birnbaum, Ning Zhao, Balaji T. Moorthy, Devang M. Patel, Oleksandr N. Kryvenko, Laine Heidman, Akhilesh Kumar, William M. Morgan, Yuguang Ban, Isildinha M. Reis, Xi Chen, Mark L. Gonzalgo, Merce Jorda, Kerry L. Burnstein, Fangliang Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Most prostate cancer cases remain indolent for long periods of time, but metastatic progression quickly worsens the prognosis and leads to mortality. However, little is known about what promotes the metastasis of prostate cancer and there is a lack of effective prognostic indicators, making it immensely difficult to manage options for treatment or surveillance. Arginyltransferase 1 (Ate1) is the enzyme mediating post-translational protein arginylation, which has recently been identified as a master regulator affecting many cancer-relevant pathways including stress response, cell cycle checkpoints, and cell migration/adhesion. However, the precise role of Ate1 in cancer remains unknown. In this study, we found the occurrence of metastasis of prostate cancer is inversely correlated with the levels of Ate1 protein and mRNA in the primary tumor. We also found that metastatic prostate cancer cell lines have a reduced level of Ate1 protein compared to non-metastatic cell lines, and that a depletion of Ate1 drives prostate cancer cells towards more aggressive pro-metastatic phenotypes without affecting proliferation rates. Furthermore, we demonstrated that a reduction of Ate1 can result from chronic stress, and that shRNA-reduced Ate1 increases cellular resistance to stress, and drives spontaneous and stress-induced genomic mutations. Finally, by using a prostate orthotropic xenograft mouse model, we found that a reduction of Ate1 was sufficient to enhance the metastatic phenotypes of prostate cancer cell line PC-3 in vivo. Our study revealed a novel role of Ate1 in suppressing prostate cancer metastasis, which has a profound significance for establishing metastatic indicators for prostate cancer, and for finding potential treatments to prevent its metastasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)838-851
Number of pages14
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 7 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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