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SIK2 impacts cell division cycle, regulates ovarian cancer response to chemotherapy: Research

February 11, 2016

Bast and first author Ahmed Ashour Ahmed, M.D., Ph.D., a former postdoctoral fellow in Bast's lab who is now a member of the faculty at Oxford University, analyzed nearly 780 pools of siRNAs to identify proteins that alter sensitivity to paclitaxel. SIK2, a previously described member of the "AMPK" family of kinases that are active in resting cells, was found to regulate sensitivity to paclitaxel and to prevent division after doubling of DNA during proliferation of cancer cells. SIK2 was found in the cell centrosomes, which must split in order to direct distribution of chromosomes into each daughter cell.

"The discovery that SIK2 plays a role in cell cycle regulation is groundbreaking since to date it has been linked to cellular metabolism and energy balance," Ahmed said. "In addition to improving the response of some cancer to taxane, our findings add support to emerging evidence that cancer cell metabolism and mitosis functions are coupled."

According to researchers, drugs that inhibit SIK2 are needed to permit future clinical studies. Such drugs do not yet exist but knowing the right target is an important first step.

Source : University of Texas