The protein kinase CK2 contributes to the malignant phenotype of cholangiocarcinoma cells

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Giovanni Di Maira
  • Alessandra Gentilini
  • Mirella Pastore
  • Alessandra Caligiuri
  • Benedetta Piombanti
  • Chiara Raggi
  • Elisabetta Rovida
  • Lewinska, Monika
  • Andersen, Jesper Bøje
  • Christian Borgo
  • Mauro Salvi
  • Daniele Ottaviani
  • Maria Ruzzene
  • Fabio Marra

Cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) is a particularly aggressive hepatobiliary malignancy, for which the molecular mechanisms underlying the malignant phenotype are still poorly understood, and novel and effective therapeutic strategies are limited. The pro-survival protein kinase CK2 is frequently overexpressed in cancer and is receiving increasing interest as an anti-tumor drug target. Its precise role in CCA biology is still largely unknown. Here we show that expression of the CK2α and α' catalytic subunits and of the β regulatory subunit is increased in human CCA samples. Increased expression of CK2 subunits was shown in CCA cell lines compared to non-transformed cholangiocytes. We used chemical inhibition of CK2 and genetic modification by CRISPR/Cas9 to explore the contribution of CK2 to the malignant phenotype of CCA cells. Disruption of CK2 activity results in cell death through apoptosis, reduced invasion and migration potential, and G0/G1 cell cycle arrest. Importantly, CCA cells with a reduced CK2 activity are more sensitive to chemotherapy. Altogether, our results demonstrate that CK2 significantly contributes to increased proliferative potential and augmented growth of CCA cells and indicate the rationale for its targeting as a promising pharmacologic strategy for cholangiocarcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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