Modulation of the SHBG signalling axis

Sanchez, Washington Yamanda (2009) Modulation of the SHBG signalling axis. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is a homodimeric plasma glycoprotein that is the major sex steroid carrier-protein in the bloodstream and functions also as a key regulator of steroid bioavailability within target tissues, such as the prostate. Additionally, SHBG binds to prostatic cell membranes via the putative and unidentified SHBG receptor (RSHBG), activating a signal transduction pathway implicated in stimulating both proliferation and expression of prostate specific antigen (PSA) in prostate cell lines in vitro. A yeast-two hybrid assay suggested an interaction between SHBG and kallikrein-related protease (KLK) 4, which is a serine protease implicated in the progression of prostate cancer. The potential interaction between these two proteins was investigated in this PhD thesis to determine whether SHBG is a proteolytic substrate of KLK4 and other members of the KLK family including KLK3/PSA, KLK7 and KLK14. Furthermore, the effects from SHBG proteolytic degradation on SHBG-regulated steroid bioavailability and the activation of the putative RSHBG signal transduction pathway were examined in the LNCaP prostate cancer cell line.

SHBG was found to be a proteolytic substrate of the trypsin-like KLK4 and KLK14 in vitro, yielding several proteolysis fragments. Both chymotrypsin-like PSA and KLK7 displayed insignificant proteolytic activity against SHBG. The kinetic parameters of SHBG proteolysis by KLK4 and KLK14 demonstrate a strong enzyme-substrate binding capacity, possessing a Km of 1.2 ± 0.7 µM and 2.1 ± 0.6 µM respectively. The catalytic efficiencies (kcat/Km) of KLK4 and KLK14 proteolysis of SHBG were 1.6 x 104 M-1s-1 and 3.8 x 104 M-1s-1 respectively, which were comparable to parameters previously reported for peptide substrates. N-terminal sequencing of the fragments revealed cleavage near the junction of the N- and C-terminal laminin globulin-like (G-like) domains of SHBG, resulting in the division of the two globulins and ultimately the full degradation of these fragments by KLK4 and KLK14 over time. Proteolytic fragments that may retain steroid binding were rapidly degraded by both proteases, while fragments containing residues beyond the steroid binding pocket were less degraded over the same period of time.

Degradation of SHBG was inhibited by the divalent metal cations calcium and zinc for KLK4, and calcium, zinc and magnesium for KLK14. The human secreted serine protease inhibitors (serpins), α1-antitrypsin and α2-antiplasmin, inhibited KLK4 and KLK14 proteolysis of SHBG; α1-antichymotrypsin inhibited KLK4 but not KLK14 activity. The inhibition by these serpins was comparable and in some cases more effective than general trypsin protease inhibitors such as aprotinin and phenylmethanesulfonyl fluoride (PMSF).

The binding of 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) to SHBG modulated interactions with KLK4 and KLK14. Steroid-free SHBG was more readily digested by both enzymes than DHT-bound SHBG. Moreover, a binding interaction exists between SHBG and pro-KLK4 and pro-KLK14, with DHT strengthening the binding to pro-KLK4 only. The inhibition of androgen uptake by cultured prostate cancer cells, mediated by SHBG steroid-binding, was examined to assess whether SHBG proteolysis by KLK4 and KLK14 modulated this process. Proteolytic digestion eliminated the ability of SHBG to inhibit the uptake of DHT from conditioned media into LNCaP cells. Therefore, the proteolysis of SHBG by KLK4 and KLK14 increased steroid bioavailability in vitro, leading to an increased uptake of androgens by prostate cancer cells.

Interestingly, different transcriptional responses of PSA and KLK2, which are androgen-regulated genes, to DHT-bounsd SHBG treatment were observed between low and high passage number LNCaP cells (lpLNCaP and hpLNCaP respectively). HpLNCaP cells treated with DHT-bound SHBG demonstrated a significant synergistic upregulation of PSA and KLK2 above DHT or SHBG treatment alone, which is similar to previously reported downstream responses from RSHBG-mediated signaling activation. As this result was not seen in lpLNCaP cells, only hpLNCaP cells were further investigated to examine the modulation of potential RSHBG activity by KLK4 and KLK14 proteolysis of SHBG. Contrary to reported results, no increase in intracellular cAMP was observed in hpLNCaP cells when treated with SHBG in the presence and absence of either DHT or estradiol. As a result, the modulation of RSHBG-mediated signaling activation could not be determined.

Finally, the identification of the RSHBG from both breast (MCF-7) and prostate cancer (LNCaP) cell lines was attempted. Fluorescently labeled peptides corresponding to the putative receptor binding domain (RBD) of SHBG were shown to be internalized by MCF-7 cells. Crosslinking of the RBD peptide to the cell surfaces of both MCF-7 and LNCaP cells, demonstrated the interaction of the peptide with several targets. These targets were then captured using RBD peptides synthesized onto a hydrophilic scaffold and analysed by mass spectrometry. The samples captured by the RBD peptide returned statistically significantly matches for cytokeratin 8, 18 and 19 as well as microtubule-actin crosslinking factor 1, which may indicate a novel interaction between SHBG and these proteins, but ultimately failed to detect a membrane receptor potentially responsible for the putative RSHBG-mediated signaling.

This PhD project has reported the proteolytic processing of SHBG by two members of the kallikrein family, KLK4 and KLK14. The effect of SHBG proteolysis by KLK4 and KLK14 on RSHBG-mediated signaling activation was unable to be determined as the reported signal transduction pathway was not activated after treatment with SHBG, in combination with either DHT or estradiol. However, the digestion of SHBG by these two proteases positively regulated androgen bioavailability to prostate cancer cells in vitro. The increased uptake of androgens is deleterious in prostate cancer due to the promotion of proliferation, metastasis, invasion and the inhibition of apoptosis. The increased bioavailability of androgens, from SHBG proteolysis by KLK4 and KLK14, may therefore promote both carcinogenesis and progression of prostate cancer. Finally, this information may contribute to the development of therapeutic treatment strategies for prostate cancer by inhibiting the proteolysis of SHBG, by KLK4 and KLK14, to prevent the increased uptake of androgens by hormone-dependent cancerous tissues.

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ID Code: 28604
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Clements, Judith & Harris, Jonathan
Keywords: SHBG signalling axis, modulation
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 12 Nov 2009 02:21
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:53

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