The existence of slow-cycling luminal cells in the prostate has been suggested, but their identity and functional properties remain unknown. Using a bigenic mouse model to earmark, isolate, and characterize the quiescent stem-like cells, we identify a label-retaining cell (LRC) population in the luminal cell layer as luminal progenitors. Molecular and biological characterizations show that these luminal LRCs are significantly enriched in the mouse proximal prostate, exhibit relative dormancy, display bipotency in both in vitro and in vivo assays, and express a stem/progenitor gene signature with resemblance to aggressive prostate cancer. Importantly, these LRCs, compared with bulk luminal cells, maintain a lower level of androgen receptor (AR) expression and are less androgen dependent and also castration resistant in vivo. Finally, analysis of phenotypic markers reveals heterogeneity within the luminal progenitor cell pool. Our study establishes luminal LRCs as progenitors that may serve as a cellular origin for castration-resistant prostate cancer. In this article, Tang and colleagues, by using an unbiased bigenic mouse model to specifically earmark, prospectively isolate, and functionally characterize the quiescent stem-like cells, report a label-retaining cell (LRC) population in the mouse prostate luminal cell layer that possesses many stem/progenitor cell activities. These luminal LRCs are developmentally bipotent and intrinsically castration resistant.
Zhang, D., Jeter, C., Gong, S., Tracz, A., Lu, Y., Shen, J., & Tang, D. G. (2018). Histone 2B-GFP Label-Retaining Prostate Luminal Cells Possess Progenitor Cell Properties and Are Intrinsically Resistant to Castration. Stem Cell Reports, 10(1), 228–242. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.11.016