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Inhibition of casein kinase 1-epsilon induces cancer-cell-selective, PERIOD2-dependent growth arrest

Wan Seok Yang1 and Brent R Stockwell12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, Fairchild Center, Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027, USA

2 Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA

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Genome Biology 2008, 9:R92  doi:10.1186/gb-2008-9-6-r92

Published: 2 June 2008

Abstract

Background

Kinases are under extensive investigation as targets for drug development. Discovering novel kinases whose inhibition induces cancer-cell-selective lethality would be of value. Recent advances in RNA interference have enabled the realization of this goal.

Results

We screened 5,760 short hairpin RNA clones targeting the human kinome to detect human kinases on which cancer cells are more dependent than normal cells. We employed a two-step screening strategy using human sarcoma cell lines and human fibroblast-derived isogenic cell lines, and found that short hairpin RNAs targeting CSNK1E, a clock gene that regulates circadian rhythms, can induce selective growth inhibition in engineered tumor cells. Analysis of gene-expression data revealed that CSNK1E is overexpressed in several cancer tissue samples examined compared to non-tumorigenic normal tissue, suggesting a positive role of CSNK1E in neogenesis or maintenance. Treatment with IC261, a kinase domain inhibitor of casein kinase 1-epsilon (CK1ε), a protein product of CSNK1E, showed a similar degree of cancer-cell-selective growth inhibition. In a search for substrates of CK1ε that mediate IC261-induced growth inhibition, we discovered that knocking down PER2, another clock gene involved in circadian rhythm control, rescues IC261-induced growth inhibition.

Conclusion

We identified CK1ε as a potential target for developing anticancer reagents with a high therapeutic index. These data support the hypothesis that circadian clock genes can control the cell cycle and cell survival signaling, and emphasize a central role of CK1ε and PERIOD2 in linking these systems.