The androgen receptor (AR) plays an important role in PCa metabolism, with androgen receptor pathway inhibition (ARPI) subjecting PCa cells to acute metabolic stress caused by reduced biosynthesis and energy production. Defining acute stress response mechanisms that alleviate ARPI stress and therefore mediate prostate cancer (PCa) treatment resistance will help improve therapeutic outcomes of patients treated with ARPI. We identified the up-regulation of chaperone-mediated autophagy (CMA) in response to acute ARPI stress, which persisted in castration-resistant PCa (CRPC); previously undefined in PCa. CMA is a selective protein degradation pathway and a key stress response mechanism up-regulated under several stress stimuli, including metabolic stress. Through selective protein degradation, CMA orchestrates the cellular stress response by regulating cellular pathways through selective proteome remodeling. Through broad-spectrum proteomic analysis, CMA coordinates metabolic reprogramming of PCa cells to sustain PCa growth and survival during ARPI; through the upregulation of mTORC1 signaling and pathways associated with PCa biosynthesis and energetics. This not only promoted PCa growth during ARPI, but also promoted the emergence of CRPC in-vivo. During CMA inhibition, PCa metabolism is compromised, leading to ATP depletion, resulting in a profound anti-proliferative effect on PCa cells, and is enhanced when combined with ARPI. Furthermore, CMA inhibition prevented in-vivo tumour formation, and also re-sensitized enzalutamide-resistant cell lines in-vitro. The profound anti-proliferative effect of CMA inhibition was attributed to cell cycle arrest mediated through p53 transcriptional repression of E2F target genes. In summary, CMA is an acute ARPI stress response mechanism, essential in alleviating ARPI induced metabolic stress, essential for ensuring PCa growth and survival. CMA plays a critical role in the development of ARPI resistance in PCa.
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The mass spectrometry proteomics data have been deposited to the ProteomeXchange Consortium via the PRIDE partner repository with the dataset identifier PXD036227”.
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MG acknowledge Terry Fox New Frontiers Program Project (1062) for supporting this research.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Nikesitch, N., Beraldi, E., Zhang, F. et al. Chaperone-mediated autophagy promotes PCa survival during ARPI through selective proteome remodeling. Oncogene 42, 748–758 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41388-022-02573-7
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