Expression of bone morphogenetic protein messenger RNAs by normal rat and human prostate and prostate cancer cells

Stephen E. Harris, Marie A. Harris, Patrick Mahy, Jian Q. Feng, Gregory R. Mundy, John Wozney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Human prostate cancer cells are known to produce several growth regulatory factors, including transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) and heparin‐binding fibroblast growth factors (FGFs), which may play as‐yet‐undefined roles in prostate gland morphogenesis, as well as in prostate cancer cell behavior. Recently, a family of proteins in the extended TGFβ family, the bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), has been identified which stimulates bone formation in vivo, and in which, the proteins are likely involved in a variety of morphogenetic processes during embryogenesis. These powerful morphogenetic factors are capable of redirecting muscle mesenchyme cells to differentiate along the lines of bone tissue. We examined a number of well‐characterized rat and human prostate cancer cell lines for the expression of BMP 2, 3, 4, and 6 messenger RNA. Poly(A + )‐RNA was isolated from normal human and rat ventral prostate, from the rat prostate adenocarcinoma PAIII tumor and cultured cells derived from it, and from human prostate cancer cell lines PC‐3, LNCaP, and DU‐145. BMP mRNA levels were measured using BMP 2, 3, 4 and Vgr‐1 (BMP 6) cDNA probes. Both normal and neoplastic prostate tissue expressed these BMP mRNAs, although the level of expression varied from tumor to tumor. Normal human prostate expressed BMP 4 mRNA predominantly, as did the human prostate cancers PC‐3 and DU‐145. PC‐3 also expressed BMP 2 mRNA and BMP 3 mRNA in large amounts. Normal rat ventral prostate expressed all these BMP mRNAs, but the rat prostate adenocarcinoma PAIII expressed predominantly BMP 3 mRNA. The reason that different BMPs are expressed in varying amounts by these normal and neoplastic cells is unknown. However, if these BMPs are expressed in biologically active form, they could be responsible for important effects on normal prostate growth and morphogenesis, on neoplastic prostate cell behavior, and could even contribute to the capacity of prostatic cancer cells to stimulate new bone formation at metastatic tumor sites in bone. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-211
Number of pages8
JournalThe Prostate
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1994


  • BMP 2
  • BMP 3
  • BMP 4
  • BMP 6
  • Northern analysis
  • cell culture
  • growth factors
  • morphogenesis
  • osteoblasts
  • transcripts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology
  • Oncology


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