David S. Moura and colleagues, directed by Pedro Lazo in the “Instituto de Biología Celular y Molecular del Cáncer” in Salamanca, have now shown that VRK1 kinase is a downstream target of oncogenic Sox2. Both proteins interact directly and work in an auto-regulatory loop to control cell proliferation and differentiation in epithelial cells.
Our work here proposes a role for VRK1 in stem cells proliferation and maintenance, as well as in differentiation control. Future investigations will clarify if Sox2-VRK1 form also a regulatory axis in adult stem cells of diverse origin and if their deregulation has a role in cancer stem cells-driven tumor initiation and progression.
Moura, D. S., Fernández, I.F., Marín-Royo, G., López-Sánchez, I., Martín-Doncel, E., Vega, F.M. & Lazo, P.A. Oncogenic Sox2 regulates and cooperates with VRK1 in cell cycle progression and differentiation. Sci. Rep. 6, 28532; doi: 10.1038/srep28532 (2016).