A CK2-dependent mechanism for degradation of the PML tumor suppressor.
The PML tumor suppressor controls key pathways for growth suppression, induction of apoptosis, and cellular senescence. PML loss occurs frequently in human tumors through unknown posttranslational mechanisms. Casein kinase 2 (CK2) is oncogenic and frequently upregulated in human tumors. Here we show that CK2 regulates PML protein levels by promoting its ubiquitin-mediated degradation dependent on direct phosphorylation at Ser517. Consequently, PML mutants that are resistant to CK2 phosphorylation display increased tumor-suppressive functions. In a faithful mouse model of lung cancer, we demonstrate that Pml inactivation leads to increased tumorigenesis. Furthermore, CK2 pharmacological inhibition enhances the PML tumor-suppressive property in vivo. Importantly, we found an inverse correlation between CK2 kinase activity and PML protein levels in human lung cancer-derived cell lines and primary specimens. These data identify a key posttranslational mechanism that controls PML protein levels and provide therapeutic means toward PML restoration through CK2 inhibition.