Identification of defined cell populations with stem/progenitor properties is key for understanding prostate development and tumorigenesis. Here we show that the polycomb repressor protein Bmi1 marks a population of castration-resistant luminal epithelial cells enriched in the mouse proximal prostate. We employ lineage tracing to show that these castration-resistant Bmi1-expressing cells (or CARBs) are capable of tissue regeneration and self-renewal. Notably, CARBs are distinct from the previously described luminal castration-resistant Nkx3.1-expressing cells (CARNs). CARBs can serve as a prostate cancer cell-of-origin upon Pten deletion, yielding luminal prostate tumours. Clonal analysis using the R26R-confetti allele indicates preferential tumour initiation from CARBs localized to the proximal prostate. These studies identify Bmi1 as a marker for a distinct population of castration-resistant luminal epithelial cells enriched in the proximal prostate that can serve as a cell of origin for prostate cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)