Integrin-associated CD151 is a suppressor of prostate cancer progression

Rongbo Han, Patrick J. Hensley, Jieming Li, Yang Zhang, Timothy W. Stark, Allie Heller, Hai Qian, Junfeng Shi, Zeyi Liu, Jian An Huang, Tengchuan Jin, Xiaowei Wei, Binhua P. Zhou, Yadi Wu, Natasha Kyprianou, Jinfei Chen, Xiuwei H. Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Owing to the complexity of interacting molecular networks on the cell surface, integrin-associated tetraspanin CD151 remains controversial regarding its clinical importance and functional impact in prostate cancer. The current study evaluated dynamics and clinical importance of CD151 expression and its function in prostate cancer by IHC analysis of two independent patient cohorts (n=80, 181), bioinformatic interrogation of the TCGA database, and evaluation of gene knockdown effect at the cellular level. Our data showed that aside from high mRNA expression, CD151 was primarily localized to intercellular junctions at the plasma membrane in normal prostate glands or benign tissues, regardless of nature of antibodies used. By contrast, in primary tumors from patients with metastatic disease, CD151 was largely localized in the cytosol. Furthermore, the level of the cell-cell junction-linked CD151 was inversely associated with Gleason grade and tumor stage (P<0.001 for both). The portion of primary tumors expressing junctional CD151 was also three-fold less in the metastatic patient population than its counterpart (P<0.001). In line with these observations, CD151 and its associated α3β1 or α6β4 integrin inversely correlated with androgen receptor (AR) at the mRNA level (Spearman coefficient: -0.44, -0.48 and -0.42) in the TCGA cohort. Expression of these adhesion molecules also correlated with DNA methylation in their promoters (Spearman coefficient: -0.37, -0.71 and -0.82). Combined, these data suggest that CD151 and associated integrins are linked to tumor metastasis through AR and the epigenetic program. Meanwhile, CD151 knockdown in E-cadherin-positive tumor cells led to increased cell proliferation and induction of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-like phenotype. Given the strong RGD-binding integrin dependence of EMT-featured tumor cells, we examined focal adhesion kinase (FAK), their key signaling effector, in the above patient cohorts. In contrast to CD151, FAK exhibited positive correlation with tumor grade and stage as well as AR and p53 inactivation at either mRNA, protein or genomic level. Taken together, our results suggest that CD151 represses prostate cancer by antagonizing cell proliferation, EMT and the signaling of RGD-binding integrins. Since this anti-tumorigenic role is prone to the AR-mediated transcriptional and epigenetic regulation, CD151 and possibly α3β1 and α6β4 integrins are of potential biomarkers for metastatic prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1428-1442
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Translational Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 E-Century Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.


  • CD151
  • EMT
  • Integrins
  • Metastasis
  • Prostate cancer
  • Tetraspanin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cancer Research


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