The smooth muscle gamma-actin gene is androgen responsive in prostate epithelia. Academic Article uri icon


  • Nkx 3.1 is an evolutionarily conserved vertebrate homolog of the Drosophila Nk-3 homeodomain gene bagpipe that is expressed by a variety of cells during early mammalian development and has been shown to be a critical factor for prostate development and function. Previous studies utilizing a heterologous cell transfection strategy from our laboratory identified the smooth muscle gamma-actin (SMGA) gene as a novel molecular target of Nkx 3.1 regulatory activity. In the studies presented here, SMGA gene activity and regulation were evaluated in normal and cancerous prostate epithelial cells. SMGA transcripts were demonstrated in prostate epithelia and SMGA mRNA levels were increased in androgen-responsive LNCaP cancer and normal prostate epithelial cells. SMGA gene transcriptional activity was androgen responsive in these cells and required a segment of the human SMGA promoter containing NKE and SRF (serum response factor) binding elements. This region of the human SMGA proximal promoter is well conserved across species and is synergistically activated by coexpression of Nkx 3.1 and SRF in heterologous CV-1 cells. SMGA transcription was not responsive to steroid in PC-3 prostate epithelial cancer cells, which do not express Nkx 3.1. However, SMGA transcription was influenced by expression of androgen receptor in these cells, a situation that allows the androgen-dependent expression of Nkx 3.1. Furthermore, SMGA gene activity was influenced by direct Nkx 3.1 expression in the PC-3 cells. Thus, SMGA gene activity in prostate epithelia is due, in part, to the androgen-dependent expression of Nkx 3.1. As such, our studies provide the initial description of Nkx 3.1 target gene regulatory activity in the prostate.

published proceedings

  • Gene Expr

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Filmore, R. A., Dean, D. A., & Zimmer, W. E.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Filmore, RA||Dean, DA||Zimmer, WE

publication date

  • May 2002