Prostate tissue specificity of the prostate-specific antigen promoter isolated from a patient with prostate cancer

Shen Pang, Samir Taneja, Kambiz Dardashti, Pejman Cohan, Randhir Kaboo, Mitchell Sokoloff, Cho Lea Tso, Jean B. Dekernion, Arte S. Belldegrun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have cloned and characterized a 620-bp fragment of DNA that flanks 5' of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) gene from a prostate cancer patient. Using DNA transfection, the efficacy of this putative promoter in regulating gene expression was quantitated in several prostate and nonprostate tissue cell lines. Our results demonstrated that the 620-dp DNA fragment actively drives gene expression in LNCaP, a PSA-producing prostate tumor cell line. No promoter activity was detected in the non-PSA-producing prostate tumor lines, DU145 and PC-3, nor in a renal (R11) or breast (MCF-7) cancer cell line. Furthermore, the promoter activity could be regulated in vitro by androgen stimulation. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) concentrations between 3 and 30 nM induced the highest promoter activity in the transfected LNCaP cells, which parallels the expression profile of the androgen receptor in LNCaP cells. In addition, our PSA promoter exhibited competitive inhibition of the endogenous genomic PSA promoter in transfected LNCaP cells, suggesting that prostate cell-specific DNA-binding proteins are required to activate the PSA promoter. A cytomegalovirus IE1 promoter (CMV promoter) attached to the 5'-flanking region of the PSA promoter increased its potency four- to five-fold while retaining tissue specificity. Our data suggest that a strong tissue-specific negative regulatory element capable of overriding the nonspecific CMV promoter is present in the PSA promoter and confers its tissue specificity. The use of a highly specific promoter-driven gene vector will allow selective expression of therapeutic genes within PSA-producing prostate cancer cells, providing a unique strategy for prostate cancer gene therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1417-1426
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Gene Therapy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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