Cancer of the prostate is the most common cancer and a leading cause of cancer death in Europe and North America. At the present there is a need to understand the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of this disease and discover alternative therapeutic targets. UHRF1 (ubiquitin-like protein containing PHD and RING domains 1), a nuclear RING finger protein, has been previously reported to acts as a dominant negative effectors of cell growth. UHRF1 is involved in epigenetic mechanisms by virtue of its interaction with DNMTs and HMTs. In this study, analysis of gene expression profiles of prostate tumors and normal prostate showed that UHRF1 is frequently over-expressed in tumors compared to normal tissues. UHRF1 expression was very low in immortalized prostate epithelial cells (LH) while it was higher in the Ras transformed counterpart LHSR cells. Furthermore, we observed low level of UHRF1 in the androgen-dependent prostate cancer cell lines LNCaP and 22Rv1, while higher levels were present in the androgen-independent cell lines PC3 and DU145. These data suggested that over-expression of UHRF1 is associated with malignant transformation and prostate cancer progression. To understand the role of UHRF1 we performed knockdown experiments with UHRF1 specific siRNA. Transient transfection in PC3 cells reduced UHRF1 mRNA and protein level. UHRF1 knock-down resulted in reversion of the transformed phenotype with significant inhibition of clonogenic growth in anchorage dependent and independent condition. Reversion of the transformed phenotype occurred concomitantly with restoration of the expression of several tumor suppressor genes relevant for prostate differentiation, proliferation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition such as CDH1 and RARB2. Moreover, chromatin immunoprecipitation showed binding of UHRF1 to these gene promoter and UHRF1 knockdown resulted in significant reduction of repressive histone marks on gene promoters. These studies suggest that deregulated UHRF1 expression results in epigenetic silencing of relevant tumor suppressor genes, contributing to prostate cancer progression. Targeting UHRF1 may result in re-expression of tumor suppressor genes and thus may be a valid strategy for therapeutic intervention.

Citation Format: {Authors}. {Abstract title} [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2010 Apr 17-21; Washington, DC. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2010;70(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 196.