Characterization of intracellular prostate-specific antigen from laser capture microdissected benign and malignant prostatic epithelium

David K. Ornstein*, Chad Englert, John W. Gillespie, Cloud P. Paweletz, W. Marston Linehan, Michael R. Emmert-Buck, Emanuel F. Petricoin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The proportion of unbound serum prostate-specific antigen (PSA; percent- free PSA) is reported to be lower in men with prostate cancer compared to men with benign prostates (U. H. Stenman et al., Cancer Res., 51: 222-226, 1991; H. Lilja et al., Clin. Chem., 37: 1618-1625, 1991; D. L. Woodrum et al., J. Urol., 159: 5-12, 1998; W. J. Catalona et al., J. Am. Med. Assoc., 279: 1542- 1547, 1998). The majority of immunoreactive PSA in serum is complexed to α- 1-antichymotrypsin (ACT). Two major mechanistic questions have previously been unknown: (a) Does PSA in human prostate cancer cells in tissue exist in a free or bound form? and (b) Is PSA produced by malignant cells in the free form because it has lost the ability to form a complex with ACT? Laser capture microdissection (LCM) enables the acquisition of pure populations of defined cell types from tissue (M. R. Emmert-Buck et al., Science, 274: 998- 1001, 1996; R. F. Bonner et al., Science, 278: 1481-1483, 1997). This technology provides a unique opportunity to study intracellular protein composition and structure from human cells. In this study, we used LCM to assess the bound versus free form of intracellular PSA in both benign and malignant epithelium procured from prostate tissue. One-dimensional and two- dimensional PAGE were performed on cellular lysates from LCM-procured benign and malignant prostate epithelium from frozen tissue specimens. Western blotting analysis of one-dimensional PAGE gels revealed a strong band at M(r) 30,000 (expected molecular weight of unbound PSA) in all cases demonstrating that the vast majority of intracellular tumor and normal PSA exists within cells in the 'free' form. Binding studies showed that PSA recovered from LCM- procured cells retained the full ability to bind ACT, and two-dimensional PAGE Western analysis demonstrated that the PSA/ACT complex was stable under strong reducing conditions. We conclude that intracellular PSA exists in the 'free' form and that binding to ACT occurs exclusively outside of the cell.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-356
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2000
Externally publishedYes


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