UNLABELLED: Salt-inducible kinase 2 (SIK2) is a multifunctional kinase of the AMPK family that plays a role in CREB1-mediated gene transcription and was recently reported to have therapeutic potential in ovarian cancer. The expression of this kinase was investigated in prostate cancer clinical specimens. Interestingly, auto-antibodies against SIK2 were increased in the plasma of patients with aggressive disease. Examination of SIK2 in prostate cancer cells found that it functions both as a positive regulator of cell-cycle progression and a negative regulator of CREB1 activity. Knockdown of SIK2 inhibited cell growth, delayed cell-cycle progression, induced cell death, and enhanced CREB1 activity. Expression of a kinase-dead mutant of SIK2 also inhibited cell growth, induced cell death, and enhanced CREB1 activity. Treatment with a small-molecule SIK2 inhibitor (ARN-3236), currently in preclinical development, also led to enhanced CREB1 activity in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Because CREB1 is a transcription factor and proto-oncogene, it was posited that the effects of SIK2 on cell proliferation and viability might be mediated by changes in gene expression. To test this, gene expression array profiling was performed and while SIK2 knockdown or overexpression of the kinase-dead mutant affected established CREB1 target genes; the overlap with transcripts regulated by forskolin (FSK), the adenylate cyclase/CREB1 pathway activator, was incomplete.
IMPLICATIONS: This study demonstrates that targeting SIK2 genetically or therapeutically will have pleiotropic effects on cell-cycle progression and transcription factor activation, which should be accounted for when characterizing SIK2 inhibitors.