The hormonal transcription factor androgen receptor (AR) is a master regulator of prostate cancer (PCa). Protein palmitoylation, which attaches a palmitate fatty acid to a substrate protein, is mediated by a class of 23 ZDHHC (Zinc-Finger DHHC motif)-family palmitoyltransferases. Although palmitoylation has been shown to modify many proteins and regulate diverse cellular processes, little is known about ZDHHC genes in cancer. Here we examined ZDHHC family gene expression in human tissue panels and identified ZDHHC7 as a PCa-relevant member. RNA-seq analyses of PCa cells with ZDHHC7 de-regulation revealed global alterations in androgen response and cell cycle pathways. Mechanistically, ZDHHC7 inhibits AR gene transcription and therefore reduces AR protein levels and abolishes AR signaling in PCa cells. Accordingly, ZDHHC7 depletion increased the oncogenic properties of PCa cells, whereas restoring ZDHHC7 is sufficient to suppress PCa cell proliferation and invasion in vitro and mitigate xenograft tumor growth in vivo. Lastly, we demonstrated that ZDHHC7 is downregulated in human PCa compared to benign-adjacent tissues, and its loss is associated with worse clinical outcomes. In summary, our study reveals a global role of ZDHHC7 in inhibiting androgen response and suppressing PCa progression and identifies ZDHHC7 loss as a biomarker for aggressive PCa and a target for therapeutic intervention.
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All next-generation sequencing data have been uploaded to the GEO database under GSE222592.
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This work was supported by the DOD grants PC160759 (to XW) and PC160759P1 (to JY) and Prostate Cancer Foundation 2017CHAL2008 (to JY, JCZ). We thank Baoen Chen (MGH), Carla Guarino (MGH), Viriya Keo (NU), and Ka-Wing Fong (NU) for their technical assistance.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Lin, Z., Agarwal, S., Tan, S. et al. Palmitoyl acyltransferase ZDHHC7 inhibits androgen receptor and suppresses prostate cancer. Oncogene 42, 2126–2138 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41388-023-02718-2