Prostate cancer (PCa) is a leading cause of cancer death in men. Despite the antiproliferative effects of 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] on PCa, accumulating evidence indicates that 1,25(OH)2D3 promotes cancer progression by increasing genome plasticity. Our investigation of epigenetic changes associated with vitamin D insensitivity found that 1,25(OH)2D3 treatment reduced the expression levels and activities of DNA methyltransferases 1 and 3B (DNMT1 and DNMT3B, respectively). In silico analysis and reporter assay confirmed that 1,25(OH)2D3 downregulated transcriptional activation of the DNMT3B promoter and upregulated microRNAs targeting the 3=-untranslated regions of DNMT3B. We then profiled DNA methylation in the vitamin D-resistant PC-3 cells and a resistant PCa cell model generated by long-term 1,25(OH)2D3 exposure. Several candidate genes were found to be hypomethylated and overexpressed in vitamin D-resistant PCa cells compared with vitamin D-sensitive cells. Most of the identified genes were associated with mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling activation, which is known to promote cancer progression. Among them, we found that inhibition of ribosomal protein S6 kinase A1 (RPS6KA1) promoted vitamin D sensitivity in PC-3 cells. Furthermore, The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) prostate cancer data set demonstrated that midline 1 (MID1) expression is positively correlated with tumor stage. Overall, our study reveals an inhibitory mechanism of 1,25(OH)2D3 on DNMT3B, which may contribute to vitamin D resistance in PCa.
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