In 2018, approximately 165,000 new prostate cancer (PC) cases will be diagnosed, and over 29,000 men will succumb to PC in the U.S. alone. The means of assessing outcome in the clinic are inaccurate, and there is a pressing need to more precisely identify men at risk of aggressive PC. We previously identified HIST1H1A as a susceptibility gene for aggressive PC. HIST1H1A encodes H1.1, a member of the linker histone family that is involved in chromatin organization and compaction. To understand the molecular basis of aggressive PC, we have characterized how germline variation modulates susceptibility to neuroendocrine differentiation, which is a form of aggressive PC. Immunohistochemistry studies revealed that HIST1H1A is over-expressed in normal human prostate tissue compared to prostate adenocarcinoma. Functional characterization of HIST1H1A in prostate LNCaP cells indicated that HIST1HA over-expression increased cell growth, as well as the expression of neuroendocrine and epithelial-to-mesenchymal markers in vitro. Assay for Transposase-Accessible Chromatin (ATAC-seq), which is used to assess chromatin compaction and thus the transcriptional availability of individual genomic regions, demonstrated that H1.1 plays a prominent role in modulating Wnt signaling pathway genes, which are implicated in prostate tumorigenesis. These results demonstrate that HIST1H1A is a modulator of aggressive PC susceptibility.
- Epithelial mesenchymal transition
- Neuroendocrine prostate cancer
- Wnt pathway