ASCL1 Activates Neuronal Stem Cell-like Lineage Programming Through Remodeling of the Chromatin Landscape in Prostate Cancer

Treatment with androgen receptor pathway inhibitors (ARPIs) in prostate cancer leads to the emergence of resistant tumors characterized by lineage plasticity and differentiation toward neuroendocrine lineage. Here, we find that ARPIs induce a rapid epigenetic alteration mediated by large-scale chromatin remodeling to support activation of stem/neuronal transcriptional programs. We identify the proneuronal transcription factor ASCL1 motif to be enriched in hyper-accessible regions. ASCL1 acts as a driver of the lineage plastic, neuronal transcriptional program to support treatment resistance and neuroendocrine phenotype. Targeting ASCL1 switches the neuroendocrine lineage back to the luminal epithelial state. This effect is modulated by disruption of the polycomb repressive complex-2 through UHRF1/AMPK axis and change the chromatin architecture in favor of luminal phenotype. Our study provides insights into the epigenetic alterations induced by ARPIs, governed by ASCL1, provides a proof of principle of targeting ASCL1 to reverse neuroendocrine phenotype, support luminal conversion and re-addiction to ARPIs.

Shaghayegh Nouruzi, Dwaipayan Ganguli, Nakisa Tabrizian, Maxim Kobelev, Olena Sivak, Takeshi Namekawa, Daksh Thaper, Sylvan C. Baca, Matthew L. Freedman, Adeleke Aguda, Alastair Davies & Amina Zoubeidi

Department of Urologic Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC; Vancouver Prostate Centre, Vancouver, BC; Departement of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, United States

Source: Nouruzi, S., Ganguli, D., Tabrizian, N. et al. ASCL1 activates neuronal stem cell-like lineage programming through remodeling of the chromatin landscape in prostate cancer. Nat Commun 13, 2282 (2022).
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