Role of TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion in negative regulation of PSMA expression

Lihong Yin, Pravin Rao, Paul Elson, Jianghua Wang, Michael Ittmann, Warren D.W. Heston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Prostate specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is overexpressed in prostatic adenocarcinoma (CaP), and its expression is negatively regulated by androgen stimulation. However, it is still unclear which factors are involved in this downregulation. TMPRSS2-ERG fusion is the most common known gene rearrangement in prostate carcinoma. Androgen stimulation can increase expression of the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion in fusion positive prostate cancer cells. The purpose of this investigation is to determine whether PSMA expression can be regulated by the TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion. We employed two PSMA positive cell lines: VCaP cells, which harbor TMPRSS2-ERG fusion, and LNCaP cells, which lack the fusion. After 24 hours of androgen treatment, TMPRSS2-ERG mRNA level was increased in VCaP cells. PSMA mRNA level was dramatically decreased in VCaP cells, while it only has moderate change in LNCaP cells. Treatment with the androgen antagonist flutamide partially restored PSMA expression in androgen-treated VCaP cells. Knocking down ERG by siRNA in VCaP cells enhances PSMA expression both in the presence and absence of synthetic androgen R1881. Overexpressing TMPRSS2-ERG fusions in LNCaP cells downregulated PSMA both in the presence or absence of R1881, while overexpressing wild type ERG did not. Using PSMA-based luciferase reporter assays, we found TMPRSS2-ERG fusion can inhibit PSMA activity at the transcriptional level. Our data indicated that downregulation of PSMA in androgen-treated VCaP cells appears partially mediated by TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere21319
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Role of TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion in negative regulation of PSMA expression'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this