Elaine L Wilson

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Elaine Wilson

Professor, Department of Cell Biology;Professor, Department of Urology
Cell Biology
Co Dir NCI Stem Cell Canc Cell Bio Trng Grant, Co Dir NY Stem Trng Grant Stem Cells, Advsr - Cellular & Molecular Bio Instr. Hstlgy

Contact Info

540-562 First Avenue
New York, NY 10016


Research Summary

As stem cell biology and tumorigenesis are closely linked and as stem cells may have a role in the etiology of cancer we are currently defining features of normal prostate stem cells with the goal of determining if these are targets of transformation and if these have similar features to prostate cancer stem cells. We have shown that the proximal region of murine prostatic ducts is enriched in stem cells that express high levels of Sca-1, are quiescent and have high proliferative potential in vitro and in vivo. In addition, single proximal cells give rise to branched ductal structures that contain both basal and luminal cells. Cells from this region have significant regenerative capacity when assayed in an in vivo prostate reconstitution assay in which combinations of prostate cells and embryonic urogenital sinus mesenchyme (inductive mesenchyme for prostatic tissue) are inserted under the renal capsule of recipient animals. Proximal cells also withstand prolonged androgen deprivation, another characteristic of stem cells. Sca-1high prostate regenerating cells also express other antigens characteristic of stem cells such as alpha 6 integrin (~ 96%), and Bcl-2 (~ 80%). High levels of TGF-beta in the proximal region maintain the quiescence of the proximal stem cell niche. As we find that prostate stem cells reside within the population that expresses high levels of Sca-1 we determined the expression of Sca-1 on prostate cancer cells isolated from the prostate tumors of Pten deficient mice. We find these tumor cells express very high levels of Sca-1, indicating that cells expressing high levels of Sca-1 are expanded during tumorigenesis. Tumor cells with self-renewing and tumorigenic capacity reside exclusively in the Sca-1high population and are not present in the Sca-1medium/low and Sca-1negative populations. The data indicate that prostate tumor cells and normal prostate stem cells share common features and that normal stem cells are expanded during tumorigeneiss indicating that they are the likely target of carcinogenesis.

Research Interests

The Biology of Stem Cells

Cell kinetic studies fail to identify sequentially proliferating progenitors as the major source of epithelial renewal in the adult murine prostate
Pignon, Jean-Christophe; Grisanzio, Chiara; Carvo, Ingrid; Werner, Lillian; Regan, Meredith; Wilson, E Lynette; Signoretti, Sabina
2015-06-27; 1932-6203,PLoS one - id: 1639722, year: 2015 Journal Article

Sonic hedgehog signals to multiple prostate stromal stem cells that replenish distinct stromal subtypes during regeneration
Peng, Yu-Ching; Levine, Charles M; Zahid, Sarwar; Wilson, E Lynette; Joyner, Alexandra L
2014-01-07; 0027-8424,Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) - id: 712482, year: 2013 Journal Article

TGF-beta and stem cell factor regulate cell proliferation in the proximal stem cell niche
Salm, Sarah; Burger, Patricia E; Wilson, Elaine Lynette
2012-05-21; 0270-4137,Prostate - id: 166811, year: 2012 Journal Article

Molecular signatures of the primitive prostate stem cell niche reveal novel mesenchymal-epithelial signaling pathways. L
Blum, Roy; Gupta, Rashmi; Burger, Patricia E; Ontiveros, Christopher S; Salm, Sarah N; Xiong, Xiaozhong; Kamb, Alexander; Wesche, Holger; Marshall, Lisa; Cutler, Gene; Wang, Xiangyun; Zavadil, Jiri; Moscatelli, David; Wilson, E Lynette
2012-02-05; 1932-6203,PLoS one - id: 113814, year: 2010 Journal Article

PINing Down the Origin of Prostate Cancer
Moscatelli, David; Wilson, E Lynette
2012-02-05; 1946-6242,Science translational medicine - id: 111550, year: 2010 Journal Article