E-cadherin complexes with the actin cytoskeleton via cytoplasmic catenins and maintains the functional characteristics and integrity of the epithelia in normal epithelial tissues. Lost expression of E-cadherin disrupts this complex resulting in loss of cell polarity, epithelial denudation and increased epithelial permeability in a variety of tissues. Decreased expression of E-cadherin has also been observed in invasive and metastatic human tumors. In this study, we investigated the effect of E-cadherin loss in prostatic epithelium using newly developed genetically engineered mouse models. Deletion of E-cadherin in prostatic luminal epithelial cells with modified probasin promoter driven Cre (PB-Cre4) induced the development of mouse prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). An increase in levels of cytoplasmic and nuclear β-catenin appeared in E-cadherin deleted atypical cells within PIN lesions. Using various experimental approaches, we further demonstrated that the knockdown of E-cadherin expression elevated free cytoplasmic and nuclear β-catenin and enhanced androgen-induced transcription and cell growth. Intriguingly, pathological changes representing prostatic epithelial cell denudation and increased apoptosis accompanied the above PIN lesions. The essential role of E-cadherin in maintaining prostatic epithelial integrity and organization was further demonstrated using organoid culture approaches. To directly assess the role of loss of E-cadherin in prostate tumor progression, we generated a new mouse model with bigenic Cdh1 and Pten deletion in prostate epithelium. Early onset, aggressive tumor phenotypes presented in the compound mice. Strikingly, goblet cell metaplasia was observed, intermixed within prostatic tumor lesions of the compound mice. This study provides multiple lines of novel evidence demonstrating a comprehensive role of E-cadherin in maintaining epithelial integrity during the course of prostate oncogenic transformation, tumor initiation and progression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research