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Mol Endocrinol. 1999 Mar;13(3):376-84.

Androgen regulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21 gene through an androgen response element in the proximal promoter.

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Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Androgen is essential for the physiological maintenance of the integrity of prostatic epithelial cells, and castration causes the cells to undergo apoptosis. To study the molecular mechanism of androgen-dependent cell growth, we showed that androgen up-regulates the expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21 (WAF1, CIP1, SDI1, CAP20) gene at both the mRNA and protein levels. Nuclear run-on assays demonstrated that androgen stimulates endogenous p21 gene expression at the transcriptional level. Transient transfection experiments showed that androgen can enhance the activity of a 2.4-kb promoter of the p21 gene linked to a luciferase reporter. These results suggested that a putative androgen response element (ARE), which mediates androgen response to enhance the p21 transcription, is included in the 2.4-kb promoter fragment. Deletion analysis of the promoter revealed a functional ARE (AGCACGCGAGGTTCC) located at -200 bp of the p21 gene proximal to the promoter region. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay further demonstrated that the androgen receptor specifically binds to this element. Wild-type ARE, but not mutant ARE, confers androgen responsiveness to a heterologous promoter. The up-regulation of p21 gene expression by androgen suggests that p21 may have an antiapoptotic function in prostatic epithelial cells. However, this hypothesis will need to be tested in future experiments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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