CK2 controls TRAIL and Fas sensitivity by regulating FLIP levels in endometrial carcinoma cells

Oncogene. 2008 Apr 17;27(18):2513-24. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1210924. Epub 2007 Nov 5.


Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) has emerged as a promising antineoplastic agent because of its ability to selectively kill tumoral cells. However, some cancer cells are resistant to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. We have previously demonstrated that in endometrial carcinoma cells such resistance is caused by elevated FLICE-inhibitory protein (FLIP) levels. The present study focuses on the mechanisms by which FLIP could be modulated to sensitize endometrial carcinoma cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. We find that inhibition of casein kinase (CK2) sensitizes endometrial carcinoma cells to TRAIL- and Fas-induced apoptosis. CK2 inhibition correlates with a reduction of FLIP protein, suggesting that CK2 regulates resistance to TRAIL and Fas by controlling FLIP levels. FLIP downregulation correlates with a reduction of mRNA and is prevented by addition of the MG-132, suggesting that CK2 inhibition results in a proteasome-mediated degradation of FLIP. Consistently, forced expression of FLIP restores resistance to TRAIL and Fas. Moreover, knockdown of either FADD or caspase-8 abrogates apoptosis triggered by inhibition of CK2, indicating that CK2 sensitization requires formation of functional DISC. Finally, because of the possible role of both TRAIL and CK2 in cancer therapy, we demonstrate that CK2 inhibition sensitizes primary endometrial carcinoma explants to TRAIL apoptosis. In conclusion, we demonstrate that CK2 regulates endometrial carcinoma cell sensitivity to TRAIL and Fas by regulating FLIP levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • CASP8 and FADD-Like Apoptosis Regulating Protein / biosynthesis*
  • CASP8 and FADD-Like Apoptosis Regulating Protein / genetics
  • Casein Kinase II / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Casein Kinase II / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / drug effects*
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / genetics
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Humans
  • Leupeptins / pharmacology
  • Neoplasm Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / genetics
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / pharmacology*
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand / therapeutic use
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • fas Receptor / pharmacology*
  • fas Receptor / therapeutic use


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • CASP8 and FADD-Like Apoptosis Regulating Protein
  • Leupeptins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • TNF-Related Apoptosis-Inducing Ligand
  • TNFSF10 protein, human
  • fas Receptor
  • Casein Kinase II
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • benzyloxycarbonylleucyl-leucyl-leucine aldehyde