Biomedicine

Becoming Androgen-Independent

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Science  01 May 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5927, pp. 569
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_569a
CREDIT: XU ET AL., CANCER CELL 15, 270 (2009)

Signaling pathways comprising many proteins translate extracellular signals into phenotypic responses via selective regulation of gene expression. Transcription factors interpret the signals and, in concert with situational cofactors, manipulate an appropriate combination of genes. In prostate cells, the androgen receptor is a transcription factor that promotes distinct gene expression patterns in order to regulate proliferation, differentiation, and cell survival. Xu et al. show that the E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF6 can modulate the gene expression output patterns of the androgen receptor by atypical polyubiquitination of the receptor. Prostate cancer is a leading cause of death in men, and current androgen-ablation therapies provide only a temporary solution because resistance develops rapidly. The authors found that RNF6 (brown in the image) was up-regulated in hormone-refractory prostate cancer cells and was required for their growth, suggesting RNF6 as a potential drug target for the treatment of prostate cancer.

Cancer Cell 15, 270 (2009).

  • * Helen Pickersgill is a locum editor in Science's editorial department.

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