Expression and localization of endothelin-converting enzyme-1 in human prostate cancer

L A Dawson, N J Maitland, P Berry, A J Turner, B A Usmani

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Endothelin (ET)-1 can influence cancer invasion and metastasis by exerting an autocrine (epithelial) or paracrine (stromal) influence on growth. ET-1 is generated from big ET-1 by endothelin-converting enzyme (ECE)-1, which has four recognized isoforms, ECE-1a, ECE-1b, ECE-1c, and ECE-1d, differing only in their amino-terminal regions. This study investigated the expression and localization of the ECE-1 isoforms in prostate cancer (PC). The epithelial cell lines used were androgen-sensitive LNCaP, androgen-independent PC-3 and Du145, and nonmalignant transformed PNT1-a, PNT2-C2, and P4E6 prostate cells. Primary cells derived from malignant and benign tissue from radical prostatectomies were also exploited. Previously, we reported increased ECE-1 expression in androgen-independent PC cell lines, as compared with androgen-sensitive cells. Our present data show that transcripts for all ECE-1 isoforms were present in all epithelial cell lines analyzed. However, only the ECE-1c protein was detectable in PC-3, Du145, PNT2-C2, and PNT1-a cells. ECE-1c localized to both the cell surface and intracellular compartments in individual cell lines. In primary stromal cells, all individual ECE-1 isoforms were expressed at the mRNA level, with the exception of ECE-1 a. ECE-1b and ECE1c protein levels were higher in malignant stromal cells, as compared with benign cells. In stroma, ECE-1c protein was localized to the cell surface, with filamentous immunoreactivity throughout the cell, whereas ECE-1b immunoreactivity was punctate throughout the cytoplasm. The upregulation of the ECE-1c isoform in PC cell lines is being investigated further.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1110
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental biology and medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • endothelin-converting enzyme (ECE)
  • isoforms
  • prostate cancer
  • stromal-epithelial interactions
  • metallopeptidases
  • endothelin
  • RAT
  • ECE-1

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