Research Papers:

TMPRSS2-ERG fusion protein regulates insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF1R) gene expression in prostate cancer: involvement of transcription factor Sp1

Shilhav Meisel Sharon _, Yair Pozniak, Tamar Geiger and Haim Werner

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:51375-51392. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9837

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Shilhav Meisel Sharon1, Yair Pozniak1, Tamar Geiger1, Haim Werner1,2

1Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel

2Yoran Institute for Human Genome Research, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel

Correspondence to:

Haim Werner, email: [email protected]

Keywords: insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF1), IGF1 receptor, TMPRSS2-ERG, prostate cancer, fusion proteins

Received: December 29, 2015    Accepted: May 22, 2016    Published: June 06, 2016


Prostate cancer is a major health issue in the Western world. The most common gene rearrangement in prostate cancer is the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion, which results in aberrant expression of the transcription factor ERG. The insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF1R) plays a key role in cell growth and tumorigenesis, and is overexpressed in most malignancies, including prostate cancer. In this study we show that TMPRSS2-ERG mediates its tumorigenic effects through regulation of IGF1R gene expression. Silencing of T-ERG in VCaP cells resulted in downregulation of both IGF1R and Sp1, a critical IGF1R regulator. Co-immunoprecipitation assays revealed a physical interaction between transcription factors ERG and Sp1, with potential relevance in IGF1R gene regulation. In addition, transactivation of the IGF1R gene by ERG was mediated at the level of transcription, as indicated by results of promoter assays. To identify new co-activators of the TMPRSS2-ERG fusion protein we performed mass spectrometry-based proteomic analyses. Among other interactors, we identified AP-2 complex subunit mu (AP2M1) and caveolin-1 (CAV1) in association with ERG in cell nuclei. These proteins play a mechanistic role in IGF1R internalization. Our analyses are consistent with a potential novel function of TMPRSS2-ERG as a major regulator of IGF1R gene expression. Results may impinge upon ongoing efforts to target the IGF1R in the clinics.

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