GPRC6A is implicated in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer, but its role remains uncertain because of a purported tolerant gene variant created by substitution of a K..Y polymorphism in the 3rd intracellular loop (IL) that evolved in the majority of humans and replaces the ancestral RKLP present in 40% of humans of African descent and all other species.We determined whether the K..Y polymorphism is present in human-derived prostate cancer cell lines by sequencing the region of the 3rd IL and assessed the cellular localization of a "humanized" mouse GPRC6A containing the K..Y sequence by immunofluorescence. We assessed functions of GPRC6A in PC-3 cells expressing endogenous GPRC6A and in GPRC6A-deficient PC-3 cells created using CRISPR/Cas9 technology. The effect of GPRC6A on basal and ligand stimulated cell proliferation and migration was evaluated in vitro in wild-type and PC-3-deficient cell lines. The effect of editing GPRC6A on prostate cancer growth and progression in vivo was assessed in a Xenograft mouse model implanted with wild-type and PC-3 deficient cells and treated with the GPRC6A ligand osteocalcin.We found that all of the human prostate cancer cell lines tested endogenously express the "K..Y" polymorphism in the 3rd IL. Comparison of mouse wild-type GPRC6A with a "humanized" mouse GPRC6A construct created by replacing the "RKLP" with the "K..Y" sequence, found that both receptors were predominantly expressed on the cell surface. The transfected "humanized" GPRC6A receptor, however, preferentially activated mTOR compared to ERK signaling in HEK-293 cells. In contrast, in PC-3 cells expressing the endogenous GPRC6A with the "K..Y" polymorphism, the ligand osteocalcin stimulated ERK, AKT and mTOR phosphorylation, promoted cell proliferation and migration, and upregulated genes regulating testosterone biosynthesis. Targeting GPRC6A in PC-3 cells by CRISPR/Cas9 significantly blocked these responses in vitro. In addition, GPRC6A deficient PC-3 xenografts exhibited significantly less growth and were resistant to osteocalcin-induced prostate cancer progression compared to control PC-3 cells expressing GPRC6A.Human GPRC6A is a functional osteocalcin and testosterone sensing receptor that promotes prostate cancer progression. GPRC6A may contribute to racial disparities in prostate cancer, and is a potential therapeutic target to develop antagonists to treat prostate cancer.
J. Exp. Clin. Cancer Res. (Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research : CR)
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