The pluripotency transcription factor Sox2 regulates the kinase VRK1, suggesting new roles for VRK1 in stem cell function

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.

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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).

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