Inhibitory Interplay of SULT2B1b Sulfotransferase with AKR1C3 Aldo-keto Reductase in Prostate Cancer

Sulgi Park, Chung Seog Song, Chun Lin Lin, Shoulei Jiang, Pawel A. Osmulski, Chiou Miin Wang, Brett T. Marck, Alvin M. Matsumoto, Colm Morrissey, Maria E. Gaczynska, Yidong Chen, Elahe A. Mostaghel, Bandana Chatterjee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


SULT2B1b (SULT2B) is a prostate-expressed hydroxysteroid sulfotransferase, which may regulate intracrine androgen homeostasis by mediating 3β-sulfation of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), the precursor for 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) biosynthesis. The aldo-keto reductase (AKR)1C3 regulates androgen receptor (AR) activity in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) by promoting tumor tissue androgen biosynthesis from adrenal DHEA and also by functioning as an AR-selective coactivator. Herein we report that SULT2B-depleted CRPC cells, arising from stable RNA interference or gene knockout (KO), are markedly upregulated for AKR1C3, activated for ERK1/2 survival signal, and induced for epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT)-like changes. EMT was evident from increased mesenchymal proteins and elevated EMT-inducing transcription factors SNAI1 and TWIST1 in immunoblot and single-cell mass cytometry analyses. SULT2B KO cells showed greater motility and invasion in vitro; growth escalation in xenograft study; and enhanced metastatic potential predicted on the basis of decreased cell stiffness and adhesion revealed from atomic force microscopy analysis. While AR and androgen levels were unchanged, AR activity was elevated, since PSA and FKBP5 mRNA induction by DHT-activated AR was several-fold higher in SULT2B-silenced cells. AKR1C3 silencing prevented ERK1/2 activation and SNAI1 induction in SULT2B-depleted cells. SULT2B was undetectable in nearly all CRPC metastases from 50 autopsy cases. Primary tumors showed variable and Gleason score (GS)-independent SULT2B levels. CRPC metastases lacking SULT2B expressed AKR1C3. Since AKR1C3 is frequently elevated in advanced prostate cancer, the inhibitory influence of SULT2B on AKR1C3 upregulation, ERK1/2 activation, EMT-like induction, and on cell motility and invasiveness may be clinically significant. Pathways regulating the inhibitory SULT2B-AKR1C3 axis may inform new avenue(s) for targeting SULT2B-deficient prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberbqz042
JournalEndocrinology (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • AKR1C3 aldo-keto reductase
  • ERK1/2 survival signaling
  • SULT2B1b sulfotransferase
  • androgen receptor activity
  • epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition
  • prostate cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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