The tumor suppressor NKX3.1 is targeted for degradation by DYRK1B kinase

Liang Nian Song, Jose Silva, Antonius Koller, Andrew Rosenthal, Emily I. Chen, Edward P. Gelmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


NKX3.1 is a prostate-specific homeodomain protein and tumor suppressor whose expression is reduced in the earliest phases of prostatic neoplasia. NKX3.1 expression is not only diminished by genetic loss and methylation, but the protein itself is a target for accelerated degradation caused by inflammation that is common in the aging prostate gland. NKX3.1 degradation is activated by phosphorylation at C-terminal serine residues that mediate ubiquitination and protein turnover. Because NKX3.1 is haploinsufficient, strategies to increase its protein stability could lead to new therapies. Here, a high-throughput screen was developed using an siRNA library for kinases that mediate NKX3.1 degradation. This approach identified several candidates, of which DYRK1B, a kinase that is subject to gene amplification and overexpression in other cancers, had the greatest impact on NKX3.1 half-life. Mechanistically, NKX3.1 andDYRK1B were shown to interact via theDYRK1B kinase domain. In addition, an in vitro kinase assay showed that DYRK1BphosphorylatedNKX3.1 at serine185, a residue critical for NKX3.1 steady-state turnover. Lastly, small-molecule inhibitors of DYRK1B prolonged NKX3.1 half-life. Thus, DYRK1B is a target for enzymatic inhibition in order to increase cellular NKX3.1. Implications: DYRK1B is a promising and novel kinase target for prostate cancer treatment mediated by enhancing NKX3.1 levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-922
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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