The tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis inducing ligand (TRAIL) preferentially induces apoptosis in cancer cells. However, many tumors are resistant to TRAILinduced apoptosis, and resistance mechanisms are not fully understood. To identify novel regulatory molecules of TRAIL resistance, we screened a siRNA library targeting the human kinome, and NEK4 (NIMA-related kinase-4) was identified. Knockdown of NEK4 sensitized TRAIL-resistant cancer cells and in vivo xenografts to cell death. In contrast, over expression of NEK4 suppressed TRAIL-induced cell death in TRAILsensitive cancer cells. In addition, loss of NEK4 resulted in decrease of the antiapoptotic protein survivin, but an increase in apoptotic cell death. Interestingly, NEK4 was highly upregulated in tumor tissues derived from patients with lung cancer and colon cancer. These results suggest that inhibition of NEK4 sensitizes cancer cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis by regulation of survivin expression.
Park, S. J., Jo, D. S., Jo, S. Y., Shin, D. W., Shim, S., Jo, Y. K., … Cho, D. H. (2016). Inhibition of never in mitosis A (NIMA)-related kinase-4 reduces survivin expression and sensitizes cancer cells to TRAIL-induced cell death. Oncotarget, 7(40), 65957–65967. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11781