The androgen receptor (AR) is required for castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) progression, but the function and disease relevance of AR-bound enhancers remain unclear. Here, we identify a group of AR-regulated enhancer RNAs (e.g., PSA eRNA) that are upregulated in CRPC cells, patient-derived xenografts (PDXs), and patient tissues. PSA eRNA binds to CYCLIN T1, activates P-TEFb, and promotes cis and trans target gene transcription by increasing serine-2 phosphorylation of RNA polymerase II (Pol II-Ser2p). We define an HIV-1 TAR RNA-like (TAR-L) motif in PSA eRNA that is required for CYCLIN T1 binding. Using TALEN-mediated gene editing we further demonstrate that this motif is essential for increased Pol II-Ser2p occupancy levels and CRPC cell growth. We have uncovered a P-TEFb activation mechanism and reveal altered eRNA expression that is related to abnormal AR function and may potentially be a therapeutic target in CRPC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)