Renilla based reporters are frequently used as transfection controls for luciferase transcriptional reporter assays. However, recent evidence suggests that a commonly used reporter (HSV-thymidine kinase driven Renilla) is responsive to androgen receptor (AR) and glucocorticoid receptors in the presence of the cognate ligands, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and dexamethasone (DEX), respectively . We further validate this important technical difficulty by illustrating that in LNCaP prostate cancer cells, spurious Renilla luciferase activity is a function of (a) the promoter driving Renilla expression, (b) the presence of co-transfected transgenes, and (c) the androgen responsiveness of the cell line used. Using inhibitors of transcription and translation we showed that transcript interference or translational modulation is not a major means by which androgens affect Renilla luciferase activity. As luciferase reporter assays are a frequent means of studying transcriptional co-regulation in the highly androgen dependent LNCaP cell line, our data serves as a cautionary note that alternative normalization techniques should be employed to avoid misinterpretation of data.
- Prostate cancer
- Renilla luciferase