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Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is the standard care for prostate cancer (PCa) patients who fail surgery or radiotherapy. While initially effective, the cancer almost always recurs as a more aggressive castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Previous studies have demonstrated that chromatin modifying enzymes can play a critical role in the conversion to CRPC. However, only a handful of these potential pharmacological targets have been tested. Therefore, in this study, we conducted a focused shRNA screen of chromatin modifying enzymes previously shown to be involved in cellular differentiation. We found that altering the balance between histone methylation and demethylation impacted growth and proliferation. Of all genes tested, KDM3B, a histone H3K9 demethylase, was found to have the most antiproliferative effect. These results were phenocopied with a KDM3B CRISPR/Cas9 knockout. When tested in several PCa cell lines, the decrease in proliferation was remarkably specific to androgen-independent cells. Genetic rescue experiments showed that only the enzymatically active KDM3B could recover the phenotype. Surprisingly, despite the decreased proliferation of androgen-independent cell no alterations in the cell cycle distribution were observed following KDM3B knockdown. Whole transcriptome analyses revealed changes in the gene expression profile following loss of KDM3B, including downregulation of metabolic enzymes such as ARG2 and RDH11. Metabolomic analysis of KDM3B knockout showed a decrease in several critical amino acids. Overall, our work reveals, for the first time, the specificity and the dependence of KDM3B in CRPC proliferation.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





2187 - 2201


Arginase, Cell Line, Tumor, Gene Expression Profiling, Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic, Histone Code, Histones, Humans, Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases, Male, Methylation, Oxidoreductases, PC-3 Cells, Prostatic Neoplasms, Castration-Resistant, Protein Processing, Post-Translational