Altered cellular proton handling and cell volume regulation are hallmarks of tumorigenesis. To investigate a possible involvement of the non-gastric H+/K+ ATPase ATP12A (ATP1AL1) in prostate cancer, we performed immunohistochemistry in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded histological sections from benign and malignant human prostate lesions. Normal prostate tissue displayed a membrane-bound ATP12A staining with focal accumulated pattern, whereas in the benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) and cancerous prostate tissue (tumor grade I–III) the protein appears to be displaced in the luminal cells of the glandular epithelium. Hence, the expression pattern of ATP12A is markedly altered in BPH and prostate cancer. To test for altered gene expression of ATP12A we performed quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (QRT-PCR) in normal (tumor-free) prostate tissue, BPH and tumor stages I–III using a prostate cancer cDNA array. However, no significantly different expression levels could be detected in the various disease states compared to normal tissue, which contrasts the findings from immunohistochemistry and points to the possibility of altered post-translational processing and/or sorting of the protein. We further show that ATP12A mRNA is expressed at different levels in PC-3 and LNCaP prostate cancer cells, with a significant ñ26-fold higher expression in the latter cell type. Protein expression in these tumor cell lines was verified by Western blot.

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