© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Androgen receptor (AR) plays a role in maintaining telomere stability in prostate cancer cells, as AR inactivation induces telomere dysfunction within 3 h. Since telomere dysfunction in other systems is known to activate ATM (ataxia telangiectasia mutated)-mediated DNA damage response (DDR) signaling pathways, we investigated the role of ATM-mediated DDR signaling in AR-inactivated prostate cancer cells. Indeed, the induction of telomere dysfunction in cells treated with AR-antagonists (Casodex or MDV3100) or AR-siRNA was associated with a dramatic increase in phosphorylation (activation) of ATM and its downstream effector Chk2 and the presenceof phosphorylated ATM at telomeres, indicating activation of DDR signaling at telomeres. Moreover, Casodex washout led to the reversal of telomere dysfunction, indicating repair of damaged telomeres. ATM inhibitor blocked ATM phosphorylation, induced PARP cleavage, abrogated cell cycle checkpoint activation and attenuated the formation of γH2AX foci at telomeres in AR-inactivated cells, suggesting that ATM inhibitor induces apoptosis in AR-inactivated cells by blocking the repair of damaged DNA at telomeres. Finally, colony formation assay revealed a dramatic decrease in the survival of cells co-treated with Casodex and ATM inhibitor as compared with those treated with either Casodex or ATM inhibitor alone. These observations indicate that inhibitors of DDR signaling pathways may offer a unique opportunity to enhance the potency of AR-targeted therapies for the treatment of androgen-sensitive as well as castration-resistant prostate cancer.