Alternative splicing of TGF-betas and their high-affinity receptors TβRI, TβRII and TβRIII (betaglycan) reveal new variants in human prostatic cells
BACKGROUND The role of growth factors in prostate cell growth has been investigated as these peptides may be involved in the autonomous growth of hormone-independent prostate cancer. METHODS Responses of neoplastic (PC-3 and CPA) and non-neoplastic (CAPE) prostatic cell lines to epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) were determined using clonogenic and growth curve analysis. The constitutive expression of EGF, TGF-alpha, and TGF-beta 1-3 mRNA was examined using Northern blotting and EGF and TGF-alpha protein levels were determined immunohistochemically. RESULTS Growth curve and clonogenic analysis indicated that EGF and TGF-alpha were mitogenic in each cell line. The magnitude of the clonogenic response varied between the cell lines, with CPA cells showing the greatest growth increases. CPA cells also displayed the highest levels of EGF and TGF-alpha mRNA and protein. TGF-beta 1 mRNA was detected in the order of magnitude, PC-3 > CPA > CAPE. Furthermore, PC-3 and CPA cells expressed TGF-beta 3 and TGF-beta 2 transcripts respectively. In each cell line, the expression of any growth factor mRNA was not affected by exogenous EGF. CONCLUSIONS The growth responses of the cell lines to EGF and TGF-alpha did not correlate with their constitutive levels of EGF and TGF-alpha mRNA and protein, thus whilst growth factors may be important in malignant cell growth, other pathways may also be involved in the autocrine regulation of cell proliferation.