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Endocrinology. 2020 Jan 2. pii: bqz042. doi: 10.1210/endocr/bqz042. [Epub ahead of print]

Inhibitory Interplay of SULT2B1b Sulfotransferase with AKR1C3 Aldo-keto Reductase in Prostate Cancer.

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Departments of Molecular Medicine, Children's Cancer Research Institute University of Texas Health San Antonio, TX.
Department of Microbiology & Immunology Pusan National University School of Medicine, S Korea.
South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, TX.
Geriatric Research, Education & Clinical Center, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA.
Department of Urology, Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA.
Epidemiology & Biostatistics Children's Cancer Research Institute University of Texas Health San Antonio, TX.
Greehy Children's Cancer Research Institute University of Texas Health San Antonio, TX.
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA.


SULT2B1b (SULT2B) is a prostate-expressed hydroxysteroid sulfotransferase, which may regulate intracrine androgen homeostasis by mediating 3β-sulfation of DHEA, the precursor for DHT biosynthesis. The aldo-keto reductase AKR1C3 regulates androgen receptor (AR) activity in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) by promoting tumor-tissue androgen biosynthesis from adrenal DHEA and also by functioning as an AR-selective coactivator. Herein we report that SULT2B-depleted CRPC cells, arising from stable RNA interference or gene knockout, are markedly upregulated for AKR1C3, activated for ERK1/2 survival signal, and induced for epithelial-to-mesenchymal(EMT)-like changes. EMT was evident from increased mesenchymal proteins and elevated EMT-inducing transcription factors SNAI1 and TWIST1 in immunoblot and single-cell mass cytometry analyses. SULT2B-knockout cells showed greater motility and invasion in vitro; growth escalation in xenograft study; and enhanced metastatic potential predicted on the basis of decreased cell stiffness and adhesion revealed from atomic force microscopy analysis. While AR and androgen levels were unchanged, AR activity was elevated, since PSA and FKBP5 mRNA induction by DHT-activated AR was several-fold higher in SULT2B-silenced cells. AKR1C3 silencing prevented ERK1/2 activation and SNAI1 induction in SULT2B-depleted cells. SULT2B was undetectable in nearly all CRPC metastases from fifty autopsy cases. Primary tumors showed variable and Gleason score independent SULT2B levels. CRPC metastases lacking SULT2B expressed AKR1C3. Since AKR1C3 is frequently elevated in advanced prostate cancer, the inhibitory influence of SULT2B on AKR1C3 upregulation, ERK1/2 activation, EMT-like induction and on cell motility and invasiveness may be clinically significant. Pathways regulating the inhibitory SULT2B-AKR1C3 axis may inform new avenue(s) for targeting SULT2B-deficient prostate cancer.


AKR1C3 Aldo-keto Reductase; Androgen Receptor Activity; ERK1/2 Survival Signaling; Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition; Prostate Cancer; SULT2B1b Sulfotransferase


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