The homeodomain-interacting protein kinase (HIPK) family is comprised of four highly related serine/threonine kinases originally identified as co-repressors for various homeodomain-containing transcription factors. The HIPKs have been shown to be involved in growth regulation and apoptosis, with numerous studies highlighting HIPK regulation of the tumor suppressor p53. In this study, we have discovered a B cell homeostatic defect in HIPK1-deficient (HIPK1−/−) mice. Lymphopoietic populations within the thymus and bone marrow of HIPK1−/− mice appeared normal based upon FACS analysis; however, the spleen exhibited a reduced number of total B cells with a significant loss of transitional-1 and follicular B cell populations. Interestingly, the marginal zone B cell population was expanded in HIPK1−/− mice, yielding an increased frequency of these cells. HIPK1−/− B cells exhibited impaired cell division in response to B cell receptor cross-linking in vitro based upon thymidine incorporation or CFSE dilution; however, the addition of CD40L rescued HIPK1−/− proliferation to wild-type levels. Despite the expanded MZ B cell population in the HIPK1−/− mice, the T-independent type 2 humoral response was impaired. These data identify HIPK1 as a novel kinase required for optimal B cell function in mice.
Differentiation of skeletal muscle cells is accompanied by drastic changes in gene expression programs that depend on activation and repression of genes at defined time points. Here we identify the serine/threonine kinase homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) as a corepressor that inhibits myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2)-dependent gene expression in undifferentiated myoblasts. Downregulation of HIPK2 expression by shRNAs results in elevated expression of muscle-specific genes, whereas overexpression of the kinase dampens transcription of these genes. HIPK2 is constitutively associated with a multi-protein complex containing histone deacetylase (HDAC)3 and HDAC4 that serves to silence MEF2C-dependent transcription in undifferentiated myoblasts. HIPK2 interferes with gene expression on phosphorylation and HDAC3-dependent deacetylation of MEF2C. Ongoing muscle differentiation is accompanied by elevated caspase activity, which results in caspase-mediated cleavage of HIPK2 following aspartic acids 916 and 977 and the generation of a C-terminally truncated HIPK2 protein. The short form of the kinase loses its affinity to the repressive multi-protein complex and its ability to bind HDAC3 and HDAC4, thus alleviating its repressive function for expression of muscle genes. This study identifies HIPK2 as a further protein that determines the threshold and kinetics of gene expression in proliferating myoblasts and during the initial steps of myogenesis.
Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 1 (Hipk1), 2, and 3 genes encode evolutionarily conserved nuclear serine/threonine kinases, which were originally identified as interacting with homeodomain-containing proteins. Hipks have been repeatedly identified as interactors for a vast range of functional proteins, including not only transcriptional regulators and chromatin modifiers but also cytoplasmic signal transducers, transmembrane proteins, and the E2 component of SUMO ligase. Gain-of-function experiments using cultured cells indicate growth regulatory roles for Hipks on receipt of morphogenetic and genotoxic signals. However, Hipk1 and Hipk2 singly deficient mice were grossly normal, and this is expected to be due to a functional redundancy between Hipk1 and Hipk2. Therefore, we addressed the physiological roles of Hipk family proteins by using Hipk1 Hipk2 double mutants. Hipk1 Hipk2 double homozygotes are progressively lost between 9.5 and 12.5 days postcoitus and frequently fail to close the anterior neuropore and exhibit exencephaly. This is most likely due to defective proliferation in the neural fold and underlying paraxial mesoderm, particularly in the ventral region, which may be attributed to decreased responsiveness to Sonic hedgehog signals. The present study indicated the overlapping roles for Hipk1 and Hipk2 in mediating cell proliferation and apoptosis in response to morphogenetic and genotoxic signals during mouse development.
The tumor suppressor homeodomain-interacting protein kinase-2 (HIPK2) by phosphorylating serine 46 (Ser46) is a crucial regulator of p53 apoptotic function. HIPK2 is also a transcriptional co-repressor of hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) restraining tumor angiogenesis and chemoresistance. HIPK2 can be deregulated in tumors by several mechanisms including hypoxia. Here, we sought to target hypoxia by restoring HIPK2 function and suppressing HIF-1α, in order to provide evidence for the involvement of both HIPK2 and p53 in counteracting hypoxia-induced chemoresistance.
Upon exposure of colon and lung cancer cells to hypoxia, by either low oxygen or cobalt, HIPK2 function was impaired allowing for increased HIF-1α expression and inhibiting the p53-apoptotic response to drug. Cobalt suppressed HIPK2 recruitment onto HIF-1α promoter. Hypoxia induced expression of the p53 target MDM2 that downregulates HIPK2, thus MDM2 inhibition by siRNA restored the HIPK2/p53Ser46 response to drug. Zinc supplementation to hypoxia-treated cells increased HIPK2 protein stability and nuclear accumulation, leading to restoration of HIPK2 binding to HIF-1α promoter, repression of MDR1, Bcl2, and VEGF genes, and activation of the p53 apoptotic response to drug. Combination of zinc and ADR strongly suppressed tumor growth in vivo by inhibiting HIF-1 pathway and upregulating p53 apoptotic target genes.
We show here for the first time that hypoxia-induced HIPK2 deregulation was counteracted by zinc that restored HIPK2 suppression of HIF-1 pathway and reactivated p53 apoptotic response to drug, underscoring the potential use of zinc supplementation in combination with chemotherapy to address hypoxia and improve tumor treatment.
Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) is a multitalented protein that exploits its kinase activity to modulate key molecular pathways in cancer to restrain tumor growth and induce response to therapies. HIPK2 phosphorylates oncosuppressor p53 for apoptotic activation. In addition, also p53-independent apoptotic pathways are regulated by HIPK2 and can be exploited for anticancer purpose too. Therefore, HIPK2 activity is considered a central switch in targeting tumor cells toward apoptosis upon genotoxic damage and the preservation and/or restoration of HIPK2 function is crucial for an efficient tumor response to therapies. As a proof of principle, HIPK2 knockdown impairs p53 function, induces chemoresistance, angiogenesis, and tumor growth in vivo, on the contrary, HIPK2 overexpression activates apoptotic pathways, counteracts hypoxia, inhibits angiogenesis, and induces chemosensitivity both in p53-dependent and -independent ways. The role of HIPK2 in restraining tumor development was also confirmed by studies with HIPK2 knockout mice. Recent findings demonstrated that HIPK2 inhibitions do exist in tumors and depend by several mechanisms including HIPK2 cytoplasmic localization, protein degradation, and loss of heterozygosity (LOH), recapitulating the biological outcome obtained by RNA interference studies in tumor cells, such as p53 inactivation, resistance to therapies, apoptosis inhibition, and tumor progression. These findings may lead to new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches for treating cancer patients. This review will focus on the last updates about HIPK2 contribution in tumorigenesis and cancer treatment.
HIPK2; Oncosuppressor p53; p53-family members; Apoptosis; Genotoxic damage; Hypoxia; Tumorigenesis; siRNA interference; Gene knockout; Cytokinesis
Homeodomain-interacting protein kinases including HIPK1, HIPK2 and HIPK3 are serine/threonine kinases that form a family of highly conserved kinases. HIPKs are involved in diverse cellular functions including regulation cell death, survival, proliferation and differentiation. Here we report the characterization of a human HIPK4 that we identified in a proteomic screen during our efforts to unravel novel markers linked to cell death and survival. Human HIPK4 protein is composed of 616 residues with predicted molecular mass of 69.425 kDa and harbors a serine/threonine protein kinase catalytic domain at its N-terminal end. In the in vitro kinase assay, HIPK4 exhibits kinase activity and mutation of the conserved lysine 40 or aspartic acid 136 residue in its catalytic domain inactivates its kinase function. Human HIPK4 harbors multiple putative serine/threonine- and tyrosine-specific phsophorylation sites and also contains four high probability sumoylation sites, findings that suggest its function to be modulated by post-translational modifications. HIPK4 has been so named in the database because of its sequence homology to HIPK1, 2 and 3 predominantly within its catalytic domain. However, HIPK4 is smaller in size than the known HIPKs and has additional distinct features suggesting it to be a unique member of the HIPK family. Further functional characterization of HIPK4 is needed and will prove valuable to ascertain whether it performs distinct functions or share overlapping functions with other HIPKs.
Kinase; HIPK family; HIPK4; Phosphorylation; Sumoylation; Site-directed mutagenesis
HIPK2 (homeodomain-interacting protein kinase-2) binds to and phosphorylates, at Ser and Thr residues, a large number of targets involved in cell division and cell fate decision in response to different physiological or stress stimuli. Inactivation of HIPK2 has been observed in human and mouse cancers supporting its role as a tumor suppressor. Despite the biological relevance of this kinase, very little is known on how HIPK2 becomes catalytically active. Based on sequence homologies, HIPK2 has been taxonomically classified as a subfamily member of the dual-specificity tyrosine-regulated kinases (DYRKs) and the activation-loop Y354 of HIPK2 has been found phosphorylated in different cells; however, the relevance of this Y phosphorylation is presently unknown. Here, we show that HIPK2, which is extensively phosphorylated at S/T sites throughout its functional domains, becomes catalytically active by autophosphorylation at the activation-loop Y354. In particular, we found that, in analogy to DYRKs, HIPK2-Y354 phosphorylation is an autocatalytic event and its prevention, through Y354 substitution with non-phosphorylatable amino acids or by using the kinase inhibitor purvalanol A, induces a strong reduction of the HIPK2 S/T-kinase activity on different substrates. Interestingly, at variance from DYRKs, inhibition of HIPK2-Y354 phosphorylation induces a strong out-of-target Y-kinase activity in cis and a strong cytoplasmic relocalization of the kinase. Together, these results demonstrate that the catalytic activity, substrate specificity, and subcellular localization of HIPK2 are regulated by autophosphorylation of its activation-loop Y354.
► HIPK2 is catalytically activated by activation-loop Y354 autophosphorylation. ► Inhibition of HIPK2-Y354 phosphorylation results in out-of-target Y kinase activity. ► Out-of-target Y kinase activity delocalizes HIPK2 into cytoplasmic aggresomes. ► HIPK2 cytoplasmic aggresomes are reminiscent of similar observations in human cancers.
e.v., empty vector; IF, immunofluorescence; IP, immunoprecipitation; IVT, in vitro translation; moAb, monoclonal antibody; purvA, purvalanol A; TCE, total cell extracts; WB, Western blotting; HIPK2; Posttranslational modification; Phosphorylation; Activation-loop Y; Subcellular localization; DYRK
Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase-2 (HIPK2) plays an essential role in restraining tumor progression as it may regulate, by itself or within multiprotein complexes, many proteins (mainly transcription factors) involved in cell growth and apoptosis. This study takes advantage of the recent finding that HIPK2 may repress the β-catenin transcription activity. Thus, we investigated whether HIPK2 overexpression may down-regulate vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) levels (a β-catenin target gene) and the role of β-catenin in this regulation, in order to consider HIPK2 as a tool for novel anti-tumoral therapeutical approaches.
The regulation of VEGF expression by HIPK2 was evaluated by using luciferase assay with VEGF reporter construct, after overexpression of the β-catenin transcription factor. Relative quantification of VEGF and β-catenin mRNAs were assessed by reverse-transcriptase-PCR (RT-PCR) analyses, following HIPK2 overexpression, while β-catenin protein levels were evaluated by western immunoblotting.
HIPK2 overexpression in tumor cells downregulated VEGF mRNA levels and VEGF promoter activity. The VEGF downregulation was partly depending on HIPK2-mediated β-catenin regulation. Thus, HIPK2 could induce β-catenin protein degradation that was prevented by cell treatment with proteasome inhibitor MG132. The β-catenin degradation was dependent on HIPK2 catalytic activity and independent of p53 and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK-3β) activities.
These results suggest that VEGF might be a target of HIPK2, at least in part, through regulation of β-catenin activity. These findings support the function of HIPK2 as tumor suppressor and hypothesise a role for HIPK2 as antiangiogenic tool in tumor therapy approaches.
High-mobility group A1 (HMGA1) overexpression and gene rearrangement are frequent events in human cancer, but the molecular basis of HMGA1 oncogenic activity remains unclear. Here we describe a mechanism through which HMGA1 inhibits p53-mediated apoptosis by counteracting the p53 proapoptotic activator homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2). We found that HMGA1 overexpression promoted HIPK2 relocalization in the cytoplasm and inhibition of p53 apoptotic function, while HIPK2 overexpression reestablished HIPK2 nuclear localization and sensitivity to apoptosis. HIPK2 depletion by RNA interference suppressed the antiapoptotic effect of HMGA1, which indicates that HIPK2 is the target required for HMGA1 to repress the apoptotic activity of p53. Consistent with this process, a strong correlation among HMGA1 overexpression, HIPK2 cytoplasmic localization, and low spontaneous apoptosis index (comparable to that observed in mutant p53–carrying tumors) was observed in WT p53–expressing human breast carcinomas. Hence, cytoplasmic relocalization of HIPK2 induced by HMGA1 overexpression is a mechanism of inactivation of p53 apoptotic function that we believe to be novel.
Ultraviolet irradiation (UV) is the major risk factor for the development of skin cancer. Moreover, increasing evidence suggests cutaneotropic human papillomaviruses (HPV) from the beta genus to play a causal role as a co-factor in the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) operates as a potential suppressor in skin tumorigenesis and is stabilized by UV-damage. HIPK2 is an important regulator of apoptosis, which forms a complex with the tumor suppressor p53, mediating p53 phosphorylation at Ser 46 and thus promoting pro-apoptotic gene expression. In our study, we demonstrate that cutaneous HPV23 E6 protein directly targets HIPK2 function. Accordingly, HPV23 E6 interacts with HIPK2 both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, upon massive UVB-damage HPV23 E6 co-localizes with endogenous HIPK2 at nuclear bodies. Functionally, we demonstrate that HPV23 E6 inhibits HIPK2-mediated p53 Ser 46 phosphorylation through enforcing dissociation of the HIPK2/p53 complex. In addition, HPV23 E6 co-accumulates with endogenous HIPK2 upon UV damage suggesting a mechanism by which HPV23 E6 keeps HIPK2 in check after UV damage. Thus, cutaneous HPV23 E6 prevents HIPK2-mediated p53 Ser 46 phosphorylation, which may favour survival of UV-damaged keratinocytes and skin carcinogenesis by apoptosis evasion.
Galectin 3 (Gal-3), a member of the β-galactoside binding lectin family, exhibits antiapoptotic functions, and its aberrant expression is involved in various aspects of tumor progression. Here we show that p53-induced apoptosis is associated with transcriptional repression of Gal-3. Previously, it has been reported that phosphorylation of p53 at Ser46 is important for transcription of proapoptotic genes and induction of apoptosis and that homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) is specifically involved in these functions. We show that HIPK2 cooperates with p53 in Gal-3 repression and that this cooperation requires HIPK2 kinase activity. Gene-specific RNA interference demonstrates that HIPK2 is essential for repression of Gal-3 upon induction of p53-dependent apoptosis. Furthermore, expression of a nonrepressible Gal-3 prevents HIPK2- and p53-induced apoptosis. These results reveal a new apoptotic pathway induced by HIPK2-activated p53 and requiring repression of the antiapoptotic factor Gal-3.
Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) is a potent trophic factor for midbrain dopamine (DA) neurons, but its in vivo function and signaling mechanisms are not entirely understood. We show that the transcriptional cofactor homeodomain interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) is required for the TGFβ-mediated survival of mouse DA neurons. The targeted deletion of Hipk2 has no deleterious effect on the neurogenesis of DA neurons, but leads to a selective loss of these neurons that is due to increased apoptosis during programmed cell death. As a consequence, Hipk2−/− mutants show an array of psychomotor abnormalities. The function of HIPK2 depends on its interaction with receptor-regulated Smads to activate TGFβ target genes. In support of this notion, DA neurons from Hipk2−/− mutants fail to survive in the presence of TGFβ3 and Tgfβ3−/− mutants show DA neuron abnormalities similar to those seen in Hipk2−/− mutants. These data underscore the importance of the TGFβ-Smad-HIPK2 pathway in the survival of DA neurons and its potential as a therapeutic target for promoting DA neuron survival during neurodegeneration.
The MUC1 oncoprotein interacts with the c-Abl tyrosine kinase and blocks nuclear targeting of c-Abl in the apoptotic response to DNA damage. Mutation of the MUC1 cytoplasmic domain at Tyr-60 disrupts the MUC1-c-Abl interaction. The present results demonstrate that the MUC1(Y60F) mutant is a potent inducer of the ARF tumor suppressor. MUC1(Y60F) induces transcription of the ARF locus by a c-Abl-dependent mechanism that promotes CUL-4A-mediated nuclear export of the replication protein Cdc6. The functional significance of these findings is that MUC1(Y60F)-induced ARF expression and thereby inhibition of MDM2 results in the upregulation of p53 and the homeodomain interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) serine/threonine kinase. HIPK2-mediated phosphorylation of p53 on Ser-46 was further associated with a shift from expression of the cell cycle arrest-related p21 gene to the apoptosis-related PUMA gene. We also show that the MUC1(Y60F) mutant functions as dominant negative inhibitor of tumorigenicity. These findings indicate that the oncogenic function of MUC1 is conferred by suppressing activation of the ARF-MDM2-p53 pathway.
MUC1; ARF; MDM2; p53; HIPK2; INK4
Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) is a nuclear serine/threonine kinase of the subfamily of dual-specificity Yak1-related kinase proteins. HIPK2 was first described as a homeodomain-interacting protein kinase acting as a corepressor for homeodomain transcription factors. More recently, it was reported that HIPK2 plays a role in p53-mediated cellular apoptosis and could also participate in the regulation of the cell cycle. US11 protein of herpes simplex virus type 1 is a multifunctional protein involved in the regulation of several processes related to the survival of cells submitted to environmental stresses by mechanisms that are not fully elucidated. In an attempt to better understand the multiple functions of US11, we identified cellular binding partners of this protein by using the yeast two-hybrid system. We report that US11 interacts with HIPK2 through the PEST domain of HIPK2 and that this interaction occurs also in human cells. This interaction modifies the subcellular distribution of HIPK2 and protects the cell against the HIPK2-induced cell growth arrest.
Homeodomain interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) is an evolutionary conserved serine/threonine kinase whose activity is fundamental in maintaining wild-type p53 function, thereby controlling the destiny of cells when exposed to DNA damaging agents. We recently reported an altered conformational state of p53 in tissues from patients with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) that led to an impaired and dysfunctional response to stressors.
Here we examined the molecular mechanisms underlying the impairment of p53 activity in two cellular models, HEK-293 cells overexpressing the amyloid precursor protein and fibroblasts from AD patients, starting from recent findings showing that p53 conformation may be regulated by HIPK2. We demonstrated that beta-amyloid 1–40 induces HIPK2 degradation and alters HIPK2 binding activity to DNA, in turn regulating the p53 conformational state and vulnerability to a noxious stimulus. Expression of HIPK2 was analysed by western blot experiments, whereas HIPK2 DNA binding was examined by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis. In particular, we evaluated the recruitment of HIPK2 onto some target promoters, including hypoxia inducible factor-1α and metallothionein 2A.
These results support the existence of a novel amyloid-based pathogenetic mechanism in AD potentially leading to the survival of injured dysfunctional cells.
p53 transcriptional activity depends mainly on posttranslational modifications and protein/protein interaction. Another important mechanism that controls p53 function is its conformational stability since p53 is an intrinsically unstable protein. An altered conformational state of p53, independent from point mutations, has been reported in tissues from patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD), leading to an impaired and dysfunctional response to stressors. Recent evidence shows that one of the activators that induces p53 posttranslational modification and wild-type conformational stability is homeodomain interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2). Hence, conditions that induce HIPK2 deregulation would result in a dysfunctional response to stressors by affecting p53 activity. Discovering the mechanisms of HIPK2 activation/inhibition and the ways to manipulate HIPK2 activity are an interesting option to affect several biological pathways, including those underlying AD. Soluble beta-amyloid peptides have recently been involved in HIPK2 degradation, in turn regulating the p53 conformational state and vulnerability to a noxious stimulus, before triggering the amyloidogenic cascade. Here we discuss about these findings and the potential relevance of HIPK2 as a target for AD and highlight the existence of a novel amyloid-based mechanism in AD potentially leading to the survival of injured dysfunctional cells.
Alzheimer's disease; beta-amyloid peptides; p53 conformation; HIPK2
During angiogenesis, endothelial cells in nascent blood vessels use the transcriptional cofactors HIPK1 and HIPK2 to transduce TGF-β signals and control cell proliferation and adhesion.
Several critical events dictate the successful establishment of nascent vasculature in yolk sac and in the developing embryos. These include aggregation of angioblasts to form the primitive vascular plexus, followed by the proliferation, differentiation, migration, and coalescence of endothelial cells. Although transforming growth factor–β (TGF-β) is known to regulate various aspects of vascular development, the signaling mechanism of TGF-β remains unclear. Here we show that homeodomain interacting protein kinases, HIPK1 and HIPK2, are transcriptional corepressors that regulate TGF-β–dependent angiogenesis during embryonic development. Loss of HIPK1 and HIPK2 leads to marked up-regulations of several potent angiogenic genes, including Mmp10 and Vegf, which result in excessive endothelial proliferation and poor adherens junction formation. This robust phenotype can be recapitulated by siRNA knockdown of Hipk1 and Hipk2 in human umbilical vein endothelial cells, as well as in endothelial cell-specific TGF-β type II receptor (TβRII) conditional mutants. The effects of HIPK proteins are mediated through its interaction with MEF2C, and this interaction can be further enhanced by TGF-β in a TAK1-dependent manner. Remarkably, TGF-β-TAK1 signaling activates HIPK2 by phosphorylating a highly conserved tyrosine residue Y-361 within the kinase domain. Point mutation in this tyrosine completely eliminates the effect of HIPK2 as a transcriptional corepressor in luciferase assays. Our results reveal a previously unrecognized role of HIPK proteins in connecting TGF-β signaling pathway with the transcriptional programs critical for angiogenesis in early embryonic development.
An essential step during early embryonic development is to establish elaborate vascular networks that provide nutrients to ensure the proper growth of the embryos. This process, known as angiogenesis, requires coordinated regulation of cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation in endothelial cells, which provide the inner-most linings of blood vessels. It is well accepted that transforming growth factor–β (TGF-β) and its downstream signal pathways are required to regulate endothelial cell growth, but the exact mechanisms remain poorly characterized. Using mouse genetics and in vitro angiogenesis assays, we show that transcriptional cofactors in the homeodomain interacting protein kinase (HIPK) family are activated by TGF-β to control the expression of target genes that regulate proliferation and adherent junction formation in endothelial cells. Our study also identifies a highly conserved tyrosine residue in HIPK proteins that is required to transduce TGF-β signal. These results provide new insights into the mechanism of TGF-β signaling in angiogenesis, and how this process may be exploited to develop therapeutic targets that control angiogenesis during development and in disease conditions.
Fas is a cell surface death receptor that signals apoptosis. Several proteins have been identified that bind to the cytoplasmic death domain of Fas. Fas-associated death domain (FADD), which couples Fas to procaspase-8, and Daxx, which couples Fas to the Jun NH2-terminal kinase pathway, bind independently to the Fas death domain. We have identified a 130-kD kinase designated Fas-interacting serine/threonine kinase/homeodomain-interacting protein kinase (FIST/HIPK3) as a novel Fas-interacting protein. Binding to Fas is mediated by a conserved sequence in the COOH terminus of the protein. FIST/HIPK3 is widely expressed in mammalian tissues and is localized both in the nucleus and in the cytoplasm. In transfected cell lines, FIST/HIPK3 causes FADD phosphorylation, thereby promoting FIST/HIPK3–FADD–Fas interaction. Although Fas ligand–induced activation of Jun NH2-terminal kinase is impaired by overexpressed active FIST/HIPK3, cell death is not affected. These results suggest that Fas-associated FIST/HIPK3 modulates one of the two major signaling pathways of Fas.
Fas/CD95; apoptosis; kinase; Jun NH2-terminal kinase; signal transduction
Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase-2 (HIPK2), a transcriptional co-repressor with apoptotic function, can affect hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) transcriptional activity, through downmodulation of its HIF-1α subunit, in normoxic condition. Under hypoxia, a condition often found in solid tumors, HIF-1α is activated to induce target genes involved in chemoresistance, inhibition of apoptosis and tumor progression. Here, we investigated whether the HIPK2 overexpression could downregulate HIF-1α expression and activity in tumor cells treated with hypoxia-mimicking condition, and evaluated whether HIPK2-dependent downregulation of HIF-1α could sensitize chemoresistant tumor cells to adriamycin (ADR)-induced apoptosis.
Tumor cell lines carrying wild-type p53, siRNA p53, or mutant p53 were overexpressed with HIPK2 (full length or catalytic inactive mutant) and treated with cobalt chloride (CoCl2) to mimic hypoxia, in the presence or absence of ADR treatment. HIF-1α expression was measured by semiquantitative reverse-transcriptase (RT)-PCR and Western immunoblotting and HIF-1 activity was evaluated by luciferase assay using reporter plasmid containing hypoxia response elements (HREs) upstream of luciferase gene. HIF-1 target genes, including multidrug resistance 1 (MDR1) and the antiapoptotic Bcl2 were determined by RT-PCR. Cell survival and apoptosis were measured by colony assay and cleavage of the caspase-3 substrate PARP, respectively.
Overexpression of HIPK2 resulted in downmodulation of cobalt-stabilized HIF-1α protein and HIF-1α mRNA levels, with subsequent inhibition of HIF-1 transcriptional activity. MDR1 and Bcl-2 gene expression was downmodulated by HIPK2 overexpression in cobalt-treated cells. Inhibition of HIF-1 transcriptional activity was dependent on HIPK2 catalytic activity. HIPK2 overexpression did not induce per se apoptosis of cobalt-treated cells, on the contrary it sensitized cobalt-treated cells to ADR-induced apoptosis, regardless of their p53 status.
The ability of HIPK2 to restore the apoptosis-inducing potential of chemotherapeutic drug in hypoxia-mimicking condition and therefore to sensitize chemoresistant tumor cells suggests that HIPK2 may induce fundamental alterations in cell signaling pathways, involving or not p53 function. Thus potential use of HIPK2 is promising for cancer treatment by potentiating cytotoxic therapies, regardless of p53 cell status.
Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) is a new CREB kinase for phosphorylation at Ser-271 but not Ser-133 in genotoxic stress and activates CREB transactivation function including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA expression.
CREB (cyclic AMP response element-binding protein) is a stimulus-induced transcription factor that plays pivotal roles in cell survival and proliferation. The transactivation function of CREB is primarily regulated through Ser-133 phosphorylation by cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA) and related kinases. Here we found that homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2), a DNA-damage responsive nuclear kinase, is a new CREB kinase for phosphorylation at Ser-271 but not Ser-133, and activates CREB transactivation function including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) mRNA expression. Ser-271 to Glu-271 substitution potentiated the CREB transactivation function. ChIP assays in SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells demonstrated that CREB Ser-271 phosphorylation by HIPK2 increased recruitment of a transcriptional coactivator CBP (CREB binding protein) without modulation of CREB binding to the BDNF CRE sequence. HIPK2−/− MEF cells were more susceptible to apoptosis induced by etoposide, a DNA-damaging agent, than HIPK2+/+ cells. Etoposide activated CRE-dependent transcription in HIPK2+/+ MEF cells but not in HIPK2−/− cells. HIPK2 knockdown in SH-SY5Y cells decreased etoposide-induced BDNF mRNA expression. These results demonstrate that HIPK2 is a new CREB kinase that regulates CREB-dependent transcription in genotoxic stress.
Steroids are synthesized in adrenal glands and gonads under the control of pituitary peptides. These peptides bind to cell surface receptors to activate the cyclic AMP (cAMP) signaling pathway leading to an increase of steroidogenic gene expression. Exactly how cAMP activates steroidogenic gene expression is not clear, except for the knowledge that transcription factor SF-1 plays a key role. Investigating the factors participating in SF-1 action, we found that c-Jun and homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 3 (HIPK3) were required for basal and cAMP-stimulated expression of one major steroidogenic gene, CYP11A1. HIPK3 enhanced SF-1 activity, and c-Jun was required for the functional interaction of HIPK3 with SF-1. Furthermore, after cAMP stimulation, both c-Jun and Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) were phosphorylated through HIPK3. These phosphorylations were important for SF-1 activity and CYP11A1 expression. Thus, we have defined HIPK3-mediated JNK activity and c-Jun phosphorylation as important events that increase SF-1 activity for CYP11A1 transcription in response to cAMP. This finding has linked three common factors, HIPK3, JNK, and c-Jun, to the cAMP signaling pathway leading to increased steroidogenic gene expression.
The chromosomal high-mobility group A (HMGA) proteins, comprising of HMGA1a, HMGA1b and HMGA2, play important roles in the regulation of numerous processes in eukaryotic cells, such as transcriptional regulation, DNA repair, RNA processing, and chromatin remodeling. The biological activities of HMGA1 proteins are highly regulated by their post-translational modifications (PTMs), including acetylation, methylation and phosphorylation. Recently, it was found that the homeodomain-interacting protein kinase-2 (HIPK2), a newly identified serine/threonine kinase, co-immunoprecipitated with, and phosphorylated HMGA1 proteins. However, the sites and the biological significance of the phosphorylation have not been elucidated. Here, we found that HIPK2 phosphorylates HMGA1a at Ser-35, Thr-52, and Thr-77, and HMGA1b at Thr-41 and Thr-66. In addition, we demonstrated that cdc2, which is known to phosphorylate HMGA1 proteins, could induce the phosphorylation of HMGA1 proteins at the same Ser/Thr sites. The two kinases, however, exhibited different site preferences for the phosphorylation: The preference for HIPK2 phosphorylation followed the order of Thr-77 > Thr-52 > Ser-35, whereas the order for cdc2 phosphorylation was Thr-52 > Thr-77 > Ser-35. Moreover, we found that the HIPK2-phosphorylated HMGA1a reduced the binding affinity of HMGA1a to human germ line ε promoter, and the drop in binding affinity induced by HIPK2 phosphorylation was lower than that introduced by cdc2 phosphorylation, which is consistent with the notion that the second AT-hook in HMGA1a is more important for DNA binding than the third AT-hook.
Here we report that both HIPK2 and cdc2 phosphorylate HMGA1a at Ser-35, Thr-52 and Thr-77, but the two kinases exhibit different site preferences. Moreover, we found that HIPK2-induced phosphorylation of HMGA1a reduced the binding affinity of HMGA1a to DNA, and the drop in binding affinity was lower than that introduced by cdc2 phosphorylation, confirming that the second AT-hook in HMGA1a is more important than the third AT-hook for DNA binding.
The p53 oncosuppressor is very seldom mutated in neuroblastoma, but several mechanisms cooperate to its functional inactivation in this tumor. Increased MDM2 levels, due to genetic amplification or constitutive inhibition of p14 ARF, significantly contribute to this event highlighting p53 reactivation as an attractive perspective for neuroblastoma treatment. In addition to its role in tumorigenesis, MYCN sensitizes untransformed and cancer cells to apoptosis. This is associated to a fine modulation of the MDM2–p53 pathway. Indeed MYCN induces p53 and MDM2 transcription, and, by evoking a DNA damage response (DDR), it stabilizes p53 and its proapoptotic kinase Homeodomain Interacting Protein Kinase 2 (HIPK2). Through the regulation of the HIPK2-p53 inhibitor High Mobility Group protein A1 (HMGA1) and the homeobox proteins BMI-1 and TWIST-1, MYCN establishes a delicate balance between pro- and antiapoptotic molecules that might be easily perturbed by a variety of insults, leading to cell death. MDM2–p53 antagonists, such as Nutlin-3, are strikingly prone to inducing death in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma, by further pushing on HIPK2 accumulation. Here we discuss implications and caveats of exploiting this pathway and its connections to MYCN-induced DDR for a tailored therapy of MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma.
Neuroblastoma; HIPK2; MYCN; HMGA1; MDM2-antagonists
Tumor cell tolerance to nutrient deprivation can be an important factor for tumor progression, and may depend on deregulation of both oncogenes and oncosuppressor proteins. Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2) is an oncosuppressor that, following its activation by several cellular stress, induces cancer cell death via p53-dependent or -independent pathways. Here, we used genetically matched human RKO colon cancer cells harboring wt-HIPK2 (HIPK2+/+) or stable HIPK2 siRNA interference (siHIPK2) to investigate in vitro whether HIPK2 influenced cell death in glucose restriction. We found that glucose starvation induced cell death, mainly due to c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase activation, in HIPK2+/+cells compared with siHIPK2 cells that did not die. 1H-nuclear magnetic resonance quantitative metabolic analyses showed a marked glycolytic activation in siHIPK2 cells. However, treatment with glycolysis inhibitor 2-deoxy-𝒟-glucose induced cell death only in HIPK2+/+ cells but not in siHIPK2 cells. Similarly, siGlut-1 interference did not re-establish siHIPK2 cell death under glucose restriction, whereas marked cell death was reached only after zinc supplementation, a condition known to reactivate misfolded p53 and inhibit the pseudohypoxic phenotype in this setting. Further siHIPK2 cell death was reached with zinc in combination with autophagy inhibitor. We propose that the metabolic changes acquired by cells after HIPK2 silencing may contribute to induce resistance to cell death in glucose restriction condition, and therefore be directly relevant for tumor progression. Moreover, elimination of such a tolerance might serve as a new strategy for cancer therapy.
HIPK2; glucose; tumor; cell death; autophagy; zinc supplementation
Activation of p53-mediated gene transcription is a critical cellular response to DNA damage and involves a phosphorylation-acetylation cascade of p53. The discovery of differences in the response to different agents raises the question whether some of the p53 oncosuppressor functions might be exerted by different posttranslational modifications. Stress-induced homeodomain-interacting protein kinase-2 (HIPK2) phosphorylates p53 at serine-46 (Ser46) for p53 apoptotic activity; p53 acetylation at different C-terminus lysines including p300-mediated lysine-382 (Lys382) is also required for full activation of p53 transcriptional activity. The purpose of the current study was to evaluate the interplay among HIPK2, p300, and p53 in p53 acetylation and apoptotic transcriptional activity in response to drug by using siRNA interference, p300 overexpression or deacetylase inhibitors, in cancer cells.
Knockdown of HIPK2 inhibited both adriamycin-induced Ser46 phosphorylation and Lys382 acetylation in p53 protein; however, while combination of ADR and zinc restored Ser46 phosphorylation it did not recover Lys382 acetylation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies showed that HIPK2 was required in vivo for efficient p300/p53 co-recruitment onto apoptotic promoters and that both p53 modifications at Ser46 and Lys382 were necessary for p53 apoptotic transcription. Thus, p53Lys382 acetylation in HIPK2 knockdown as well as p53 apoptotic activity in response to drug could be rescued by p300 overexpression. Similar effect was obtained with the Sirt1-inhibitor nicotinamide. Interestingly trichostatin A (TSA), the inhibitor of histone deacetylase complexes (HDAC) did not have effect, suggesting that Sirt1 was the deacetylase involved in p53 deacetylation in HIPK2 knockdown.
These results reveal a novel role for HIPK2 in activating p53 apoptotic transcription. Our results indicate that HIPK2 may regulate the balance between p53 acetylation and deacetylation, by stimulating on one hand co-recruitment of p300 and p53Lys382 on apoptotic promoters and on the other hand by inhibiting Sirt1 deacetylase activity. We attempted to reactivate p53 apoptotic transcriptional activity by rescuing both Ser46 and Lys382 modification in response to drug. Our data propose combination strategies for the treatment of tumors with dysfunctional p53 and/or HIPK2 that include classical chemotherapy with pharmacological or natural agents such as Sirt1-deacetylase inhibitors or zinc, respectively.