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Androgen and androgen receptors (AR) play critical roles in the proliferation of prostate cancer through transcriptional regulation of target genes. Here, we found that androgens upregulated the expression of dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1), which is involved in the induction of mitochondrial fission, a common event in mitosis and apoptosis. Clinical tissue samples and various prostate cancer cell lines revealed a positive correlation between Drp1 and AR levels. Treatment of androgen-sensitive cells with an AR agonist, R1881, and antagonist, bicalutamide, showed that Drp1 is transcriptionally regulated by androgens, as confirmed by an AR ChIP-seq assay. Live imaging experiments using pAcGFP1-Mito stably transfected LNCaP (mito-green) cells revealed that androgen did not induce significant mitochondrial fission by itself, although Drp1 was upregulated. However, when treated with CGP37157 (CGP), an inhibitor of mitochondrial Ca²⁺ efflux, these cells exhibited mitochondrial fission, which was further enhanced by pretreatment with R1881, suggesting that androgen-induced Drp1 expression facilitated CGP-induced mitochondrial fission. This enhanced mitochondrial fission was correlated with increased apoptosis. Transfection with dominant-negative (DN-Drp1, K38A) rescued cells from increased apoptosis, confirming the role of androgen-induced Drp1 in the observed apoptosis with combination treatment. Furthermore, we found that CGP reduced the expression of Mfn1, a protein that promotes mitochondrial fusion, a process which opposes fission. We suggest that androgen-increased Drp1 enhanced mitochondrial fission leading to apoptosis. The present study shows a novel role for androgens in the regulation of mitochondrial morphology that could potentially be utilized in prostate cancer therapy.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Cancer Res

Publication Date





1067 - 1077


Androgens, Apoptosis, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Proliferation, GTP Phosphohydrolases, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Humans, Male, Metribolone, Microtubule-Associated Proteins, Mitochondria, Mitochondrial Membrane Transport Proteins, Mitochondrial Proteins, Prostatic Neoplasms, Receptors, Androgen