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Mol Endocrinol. 2012 Sep;26(9):1496-507. doi: 10.1210/me.2011-1360. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Slug, a unique androgen-regulated transcription factor, coordinates androgen receptor to facilitate castration resistance in prostate cancer.

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Department of Urology, The First Affiliated Hospital, Medical School of Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710061, China.


Prostate cancer (PCa) becomes lethal when cancer cells develop into castration-resistant PCa (CRPC). Androgen receptor (AR) gene mutation, altered AR regulation, or overexpression of AR often found in CRPC is believed to become one of the key factors to the lethal phenotype. Here we identify Slug, a member of the Snail family of zinc-finger transcription factors associated with cancer metastasis, as a unique androgen-responsive gene in PCa cells. In addition, the presence of constitutively active AR can induce Slug expression in a ligand-independent manner. Slug overexpression will increase AR protein expression and form a complex with AR. In addition, Slug appears to be a novel coactivator to enhance AR transcriptional activities and AR-mediated cell growth with or without androgen. In vivo, elevated Slug expression provides a growth advantage for PCa cells in androgen-deprived conditions. Most importantly, these observations were validated by several data sets from tissue microarrays. Overall, there is a reciprocal regulation between Slug and AR not only in transcriptional regulation but also in protein bioactivity, and Slug-AR complex plays an important role in accelerating the androgen-independent outgrowth of CRPC.

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