Award Recipient 

The PTEN/PACE4/(p)RR axis in prostate cancer progression

September 2016

Prostate cancer (PCa) is one of the most common cancers in Canadian men. Currently, there is one test to screen for potential PCa: the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. However, unless coupled with a biopsy or detailed image tests, the PSA test fails to properly diagnose patients because high PSA readings do not always indicate cancer. Therefore, the discovery of more reliable secreted factors that better reflect PCa progression is very much needed.

The phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a tumour suppressor that is mutated in many PCa cases. In a screen where we re-introduced PTEN to PTENdeficient PCa cells, we found that the secretion of the soluble {{pro}}renin receptor (s{{p}}RR) was the most down-regulated after that of PSA. s{{p}}RR is a cleaved form of the {{pro}}renin receptor ({{p}}RR). We also recently found that in PCa cells, {{p}}RR is cleaved by the proprotein convertase, PACE4. My research interests are in the regulation of {{p}}RR cleavage in PCa cells. Studying the function of {{p}}RR and the regulation of its cleavage will provide insight on how {{p}}RR cleavage and s{{p}}RR secretion are reflective of PCa progression and cell proliferation.

Owen Chen
Department of Biochemistry, McGill University
MSc Student, Laboratory of Dr. Jose Teodoro