The androgen receptor regulates a druggable translational regulon in advanced prostate cancer.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Science translational medicine, Volume 11, Issue 503 (2019)


Comparative Medicine Core Facility, Genomics Core Facility


The androgen receptor (AR) is a driver of cellular differentiation and prostate cancer development. An extensive body of work has linked these normal and aberrant cellular processes to mRNA transcription; however, the extent to which AR regulates posttranscriptional gene regulation remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that AR uses the translation machinery to shape the cellular proteome. We show that AR is a negative regulator of protein synthesis and identify an unexpected relationship between AR and the process of translation initiation in vivo. This is mediated through direct transcriptional control of the translation inhibitor 4EBP1. We demonstrate that lowering AR abundance increases the assembly of the eIF4F translation initiation complex, which drives enhanced tumor cell proliferation. Furthermore, we uncover a network of pro-proliferation mRNAs characterized by a guanine-rich cis-regulatory element that is particularly sensitive to eIF4F hyperactivity. Using both genetic and pharmacologic methods, we demonstrate that dissociation of the eIF4F complex reverses the proliferation program, resulting in decreased tumor growth and improved survival in preclinical models. Our findings reveal a druggable nexus that functionally links the processes of mRNA transcription and translation initiation in an emerging class of lethal AR-deficient prostate cancer.