"Topological significance" analysis of gene expression and proteomic profiles from prostate cancer cells reveals key mechanisms of androgen response

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Abstract

Background: The problem of prostate cancer progression to androgen independence has been extensively studied. Several studies systematically analyzed gene expression profiles in the context of biological networks and pathways, uncovering novel aspects of prostate cancer. Despite significant research efforts, the mechanisms underlying tumor progression are poorly understood. We applied a novel approach to reconstruct system-wide molecular events following stimulation of LNCaP prostate cancer cells with synthetic androgen and to identify potential mechanisms of androgen-independent progression of prostate cancer. Methodology/Principal Findings: We have performed concurrent measurements of gene expression and protein levels following the treatment using microarrays and iTRAQ proteomics. Sets of up-regulated genes and proteins were analyzed using our novel concept of "topological significance". This method combines high-throughput molecular data with the global network of protein interactions to identify nodes which occupy significant network positions with respect to differentially expressed genes or proteins. Our analysis identified the network of growth factor regulation of cell cycle as the main response module for androgen treatment in LNCap cells. We show that the majority of signaling nodes in this network occupy significant positions with respect to the observed gene expression and proteomic profiles elicited by androgen stimulus. Our results further indicate that growth factor signaling probably represents a "second phase" response, not directly dependent on the initial androgen stimulus. Conclusions/Significance: We conclude that in prostate cancer cells the proliferative signals are likely to be transmitted from multiple growth factor receptors by a multitude of signaling pathways converging on several key regulators of cell proliferation such as c-Myc, Cyclin D and CREB1. Moreover, these pathways are not isolated but constitute an interconnected network module containing many alternative routes from inputs to outputs. If the whole network is involved, a precisely formulated combination therapy may be required to fight the tumor growth effectively. © 2010 Vellaichamy et al.

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Vellaichamy, A., Dezso, Z., JeBailey, L., Chinnaiyan, A. M., Sreekumar, A., Nesvizhskii, A. I., … Bugrim, A. (2010). “Topological significance” analysis of gene expression and proteomic profiles from prostate cancer cells reveals key mechanisms of androgen response. PLoS ONE, 5(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0010936

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