Characterization of gene expression during prostate cancer progression
About the project
A major effort in our laboratory is directed towards dissecting the role of androgens in prostate carcinogenesis. Androgens are required for the growth and maintenance of the normal prostate gland as well as in early stages of prostate cancer. This has been recognized over 70 years ago and is the basis for androgen ablation therapy, the only course of therapy for prostate cancer, which is effective for a limited period of time. The molecular details of how androgens affect the normal prostate, as well as those that influence prostate cancer progression, remain largely unknown. In addition to studies on mechanisms of AR function that may contribute to uncovering some of this knowledge, we have recently identified several AR target genes that are also enriched in the prostate for expression. The proteins that are encoded by these proteins are expected to contribute to the phenotypic changes that result upon androgen stimulation of normal or cancerous prostate cells. This knowledge in turn could be exploited to develop better diagnostic, prognostic, or therapeutic tools against prostate cancer. With this goal in mind, we are currently characterizing multiple AR regulated genes and the proteins that they encode, that are also differentially upregulated in prostate cancer compared with normal prostate, as well as their interacting partners, using molecular, cell biological, and genetic methodologies. Some of the proteins that are being studied include the STAMP family, and Kallikrein 4, and their interacting partners identified in our laboratory.