Activated α2-macroglobulin binding to human prostate cancer cells triggers insulin-like responses.
Ligation of cell surface GRP78 by activated α2-macroglobulin (α2M*) promotes cell proliferation and suppresses apoptosis. α2M*-treated human prostate cancer cells exhibit a 2-3-fold increase in glucose uptake and lactate secretion, an effect similar to insulin treatment. In both α2M* and insulin-treated cells, the mRNA levels of SREBP1-c, SREBP2, fatty-acid synthase, acetyl-CoA carboxylase, ATP citrate lyase, and Glut-1 were significantly increased together with their protein levels, except for SREBP2. Pretreatment of cells with α2M* antagonist antibody directed against the carboxyl-terminal domain of GRP78 blocks these α2M*-mediated effects, and silencing GRP78 expression by RNAi inhibits up-regulation of ATP citrate lyase and fatty-acid synthase. α2M* induces a 2-3-fold increase in lipogenesis as determined by 6-[(14)C]glucose or 1-[(14)C]acetate incorporation into free cholesterol, cholesterol esters, triglycerides, free fatty acids, and phosphatidylcholine, which is blocked by inhibitors of fatty-acid synthase, PI 3-kinase, mTORC, or an antibody against the carboxyl-terminal domain of GRP78. We also assessed the incorporation of [(14)CH3]choline into phosphatidylcholine and observed similar effects. Lipogenesis is significantly affected by pretreatment of prostate cancer cells with fatostatin A, which blocks sterol regulatory element-binding protein proteolytic cleavage and activation. This study demonstrates that α2M* functions as a growth factor, leading to proliferation of prostate cancer cells by promoting insulin-like responses. An antibody against the carboxyl-terminal domain of GRP78 may have important applications in prostate cancer therapy.
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