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Mol Cancer Res. 2009 Mar;7(3):415-24. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-08-0137. Epub 2009 Mar 3.

Angiogenin-stimulated rRNA transcription is essential for initiation and survival of AKT-induced prostate intraepithelial neoplasia.

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Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Angiogenin (ANG), originally identified as an angiogenic ribonuclease, has recently been shown to play a direct role in prostate cancer cell proliferation by mediating rRNA transcription. ANG is up-regulated in human prostate cancer and is the most significantly up-regulated gene in AKT-driven prostate intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) in mice. Enhanced cell proliferation in the PIN lesions requires increased ribosome biogenesis, a multistep process involving an orchestrated production of ribosomal proteins and rRNA. AKT is known to enhance ribosomal protein production through the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway. However, it was unknown how rRNA is proportionally increased. Here, we report that ANG is essential for AKT-driven PIN formation and survival. We showed that up-regulation of ANG in the AKT-overexpressing mouse prostates is an early and lasting event. It occurs before PIN initiation and lasts beyond PIN is fully developed. Knocking down ANG expression by intraprostate injection of lentivirus-mediated ANG-specific small interfering RNA prevents AKT-induced PIN formation without affecting AKT expression and its signaling through the mammalian target of rapamycin pathway. Neomycin, an aminoglycoside that blocks nuclear translocation of ANG, and N65828, a small-molecule enzymatic inhibitor of the ribonucleolytic activity of ANG, both prevent AKT-induced PIN formation and reverse established PIN. They also decrease nucleolar organizer region, restore cell size, and normalize luminal architectures of the prostate despite continuous activation of AKT. All three types of the ANG inhibitor suppress rRNA transcription of the prostate luminal epithelial cells and inhibit AKT-induced PIN, indicating an essential role of ANG in AKT-mediated cell proliferation and survival.

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