Suppression of the solar ultraviolet-induced skin carcinogenesis by TOPK inhibitor HI-TOPK-032

Eunmiri Roh, Yaping Han, Kanamata Reddy, Tatyana A. Zykova, Mee Hyun Lee, Ke Yao, Ruihua Bai, Clara Curiel-Lewandrowski, Zigang Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) such as cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) is caused by solar ultraviolet (SUV) exposure and is the most common cancer in the United States. T-LAK cell-originated protein kinase (TOPK), a serine-threonine kinase is activated by SUV irradiation and involved in skin carcinogenesis. Strategies with research focusing on the TOPK signaling pathway and targeted therapy in skin carcinogenesis may helpful for the discovery of additional treatments against skin cancer. In this study, we found that TOPK can directly bind to and phosphorylate c-Jun (as one of the core member of AP-1) at Ser63 and Ser73 after SSL exposure in a JNKs-independent manner. TOPK knocking down, or HI-TOPK-032 (TOPK specific inhibitor) attenuated colony formation and cell proliferation of skin cancer cells. Phosphorylated levels of c-Jun were overexpressed in human AK and cSCC compared with normal skin tissues, and HI-TOPK-032 inhibited the phosphorylation of c-Jun in SCC cell line in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, HI-TOPK-032 decreased SSL-induced AP-1 transactivation activity. Moreover, acute SSL-induced inflammation was attenuated by the topical application of HI-TOPK-032 in SKH1 hairless mice. Importantly, HI-TOPK-032 suppressed chronic SSL-induced skin carcinogenesis and c-Jun phosphorylation levels in SKH1 hairless mice. Our results demonstrate that TOPK can phosphorylate and activate c-Jun at Ser63 and Ser73 in the process of skin carcinogenesis and HI-TOPK-032 could be used as a potential chemopreventive drug against cSCC development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4170-4182
Number of pages13
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 21 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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