Androgens are required for the development and function of the prostate. In a normal human prostate, androgens control the synthesis of proteins such as prostate-specific antigen and human glandular kallikrein. The prostate secretes these proteins as well as a number of other compounds to form the prostatic fluid. Using differential display PCR to detect novel androgen- regulated genes, clathrin heavy chain expression was identified as potentially being up-regulated by androgens in the prostate cancer cell line LNCaP. We report here that the clathrin heavy chain and light chain genes are regulated by androgens. Clathrin heavy chain messenger RNA was up-regulated by androgens in a concentration- and time-specific manner in the LNCaP cell line. Translation of clathrin heavy chain messenger RNA was stimulated by androgens. Steady state levels of clathrin light chains a and b were up- regulated in the presence of androgen in LNCaP cells. Clathrin gene expression was examined in normal rat prostates, and similar results were found. Clathrin heavy chain protein levels in the rat prostate are also affected by the androgen status of the animal. We hypothesize that clathrin may be involved in the exocytosis of androgen-regulated secretory proteins such as prostate-specific antigen and human glandular kallikrein.
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