PI3K/mTOR signaling regulates prostatic branching morphogenesis

Susmita Ghosh, Hiu Lau, Brian W. Simons, Jonathan D. Powell, David J. Meyers, Angelo M. De Marzo, David M. Berman, Tamara L. Lotan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Prostatic branching morphogenesis is an intricate event requiring precise temporal and spatial integration of numerous hormonal and growth factor-regulated inputs, yet relatively little is known about the downstream signaling pathways that orchestrate this process. In this study, we use a novel mesenchyme-free embryonic prostate culture system, newly available mTOR inhibitors and a conditional PTEN loss-of-function model to investigate the role of the interconnected PI3K and mTOR signaling pathways in prostatic organogenesis. We demonstrate that PI3K levels and PI3K/mTOR activity are robustly induced by androgen during murine prostatic development and that PI3K/mTOR signaling is necessary for prostatic epithelial bud invasion of surrounding mesenchyme. To elucidate the cellular mechanism by which PI3K/mTOR signaling regulates prostatic branching, we show that PI3K/mTOR inhibition does not significantly alter epithelial proliferation or apoptosis, but rather decreases the efficiency and speed with which the developing prostatic epithelial cells migrate. Using mTOR kinase inhibitors to tease out the independent effects of mTOR signaling downstream of PI3K, we find that simultaneous inhibition of mTORC1 and mTORC2 activity attenuates prostatic branching and is sufficient to phenocopy combined PI3K/mTOR inhibition. Surprisingly, however, mTORC1 inhibition alone has the reverse effect, increasing the number and length of prostatic branches. Finally, simultaneous activation of PI3K and downstream mTORC1/C2 via epithelial PTEN loss-of-function also results in decreased budding reversible by mTORC1 inhibition, suggesting that the effect of mTORC1 on branching is not primarily mediated by negative feedback on PI3K/mTORC2 signaling. Taken together, our data point to an important role for PI3K/mTOR signaling in prostatic epithelial invasion and migration and implicates the balance of PI3K and downstream mTORC1/C2 activity as a critical regulator of prostatic epithelial morphogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-342
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental biology
Volume360
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2011

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Keywords

  • Branching morphogenesis
  • MTOR
  • Migration
  • PI3K
  • Prostate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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