CDK/CK1 inhibitors roscovitine and CR8 downregulate amplified MYCN in neuroblastoma cells

Oncogene. 2014 Dec 11;33(50):5675-87. doi: 10.1038/onc.2013.513. Epub 2013 Dec 9.


To understand the mechanisms of action of (R)-roscovitine and (S)-CR8, two related pharmacological inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs), we applied a variety of '-omics' techniques to the human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y and IMR32 cell lines: (1) kinase interaction assays, (2) affinity competition on immobilized broad-spectrum kinase inhibitors, (3) affinity chromatography on immobilized (R)-roscovitine and (S)-CR8, (4) whole genome transcriptomics analysis and specific quantitative PCR studies, (5) global quantitative proteomics approach and western blot analysis of selected proteins. Altogether, the results show that the major direct targets of these two molecules belong to the CDKs (1,2,5,7,9,12), DYRKs, CLKs and CK1s families. By inhibiting CDK7, CDK9 and CDK12, these inhibitors transiently reduce RNA polymerase 2 activity, which results in downregulation of a large set of genes. Global transcriptomics and proteomics analysis converge to a central role of MYC transcription factors downregulation. Indeed, CDK inhibitors trigger rapid and massive downregulation of MYCN expression in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells as well as in nude mice xenografted IMR32 cells. Inhibition of casein kinase 1 may also contribute to the antitumoral activity of (R)-roscovitine and (S)-CR8. This dual mechanism of action may be crucial in the use of these kinase inhibitors for the treatment of MYC-dependent cancers, in particular neuroblastoma where MYCN amplification is a strong predictor factor for high-risk disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CDC2 Protein Kinase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Amplification
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Mice, SCID
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • N-Myc Proto-Oncogene Protein
  • Neuroblastoma / genetics*
  • Neuroblastoma / pathology
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Purines / pharmacology*
  • Pyridines / pharmacology*
  • Roscovitine
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • CR8 compound
  • MYCN protein, human
  • N-Myc Proto-Oncogene Protein
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Purines
  • Pyridines
  • Roscovitine
  • CDC2 Protein Kinase
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases