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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effect of cyclin G associated kinase on androgen receptor function and prostate cancer progression Emsley-Leik, Kimberley Louise


The mechanism by which prostate cancer progresses from androgen dependence (AD) to androgen independence/castration resistance (AI/CR) is currently a major focus of prostate cancer-related research. Prostate cancers that progress to a state of AI/CR are typically resistant to most standard types of treatments. Due to its primary role in driving normal prostate cell growth and proliferation, the androgen receptor (AR) is believed to play a key role in progression. Coregulators, or any proteins which may either enhance or abrogate AR activity, are considered to be one of the potential mechanisms by which AR function may become impaired. Cyclin G-associated kinase (GAK) was initially identified as a potential coregulator of AR in a Tup 1 repressed transactivation system. A LNCaP cDNA library was screened for proteins which interacted with the NH2-terminus of AR. GAK was isolated from three independent library clones using two different AR baits (AR 1-549 and AR 1-646). This interaction was confirmed via GST pulldown and coimmunoprecipitation experiments, and preliminary luciferase assays suggested that GAK activates AR in a hormone dependent manner. In this study, my objectives were to validate GAK’s role as a coregulator of AR and to determine if overexpressing GAK affects progression to AI. In vitro luciferase assays whereby GAK was either overexpressed or knocked down in both LNCaP and PC3 cells did not significantly affect AR activity. Xenograft experiments utilizing a doxycycline (DOX) inducible lentiviral LNCaP-GAK overexpressing stable cell line demonstrated that while GAK may not play a significant role in modulating AR activity, it may adopt a more subtle role enhancing tumour take and tumour volume growth rate in vivo. While these results could not confirm GAK to be a direct coregulator of AR, it is entirely possible that GAK may influence prostate cancer progression, albeit indirectly. Recent publications report a growing amount of evidence suggesting GAK’s involvement in the critical cellular process of clathrin coated vesicle endocytosis, the dysregulation of which could potentially indirectly affect AR regulated genes.

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