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Oncogene. 2005 Mar 17;24(12):2050-8.

Casein kinase II (CK2) enhances death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) activity in TRAIL-induced apoptosis in human colon carcinoma cell lines.

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Division of Molecular Therapeutics, Department of Hematology-Oncology, St Jude Children's Research Hospital, 332 North Lauderdale, Memphis, TN 38105, USA.


Protein kinase casein kinase II (CK2) is increased in response to diverse growth stimuli, as well as being elevated in many human cancers examined. We have demonstrated that CK2 is a key survival factor that protects human colon carcinoma cells from TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL)-induced apoptosis. We determined that inhibition of CK2 phosphorylation events by DRB (5,6-dichlorobenzimidazole) resulted in dramatic sensitization of tumor cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis, in the absence of effects in normal cells. Sensitization was caspase dependent, and independent of regulation via NF-kappaB. Further, inhibition of phosphorylation by CK2 did not modify the expression level of antiapoptotic proteins. Analysis of TRAIL-induced death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) formation demonstrated enhanced formation of the DISC, enhanced cleavage of caspase-8 and cleavage of Bid in the presence of DRB, thereby facilitating the release of proapoptotic factors from the mitochondria with subsequent downregulation of the expression of XIAP and c-IAP1. Further, silencing of CK2alpha in HT29 cells following transfection of CK2alpha shRNA abrogated CK2 kinase activity while simultaneously increasing TRAIL sensitivity. These findings demonstrate that CK2 plays a critical antiapoptotic role by conferring resistance to TRAIL at the level of the DISC.

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