Constitutive CHK1 Expression Drives a pSTAT3-CIP2A Circuit that Promotes Glioblastoma Cell Survival and Growth

Anchit Khanna, Julie A.I. Thoms, Brett W. Stringer, Sylvia A. Chung, Kathleen S. Ensbey, Toni Rose Jue, Zeenat Jahan, Shruthi Subramanian, Govardhan Anande, Han Shen, Ashwin Unnikrishnan, Kerrie L. McDonald, Bryan W. Day, John E. Pimanda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


High-constitutive activity of the DNA damage response protein checkpoint kinase 1 (CHK1) has been shown in glioblastoma (GBM) cell lines and in tissue sections. However, whether constitutive activation and overexpression of CHK1 in GBM plays a functional role in tumorigenesis or has prognostic significance is not known. We interrogated multiple glioma patient cohorts for expression levels of CHK1 and the oncogene cancerous inhibitor of protein phosphatase 2A (CIP2A), a known target of high-CHK1 activity, and examined the relationship between these two proteins in GBM. Expression levels of CHK1 and CIP2A were independent predictors for reduced overall survival across multiple glioma patient cohorts. Using siRNA and pharmacologic inhibitors we evaluated the impact of their depletion using both in vitro and in vivo models and sought a mechanistic explanation for high CIP2A in the presence of high-CHK1 levels in GBM and show that; (i) CHK1 and pSTAT3 positively regulate CIP2A gene expression; (ii) pSTAT3 and CIP2A form a recursively wired transcriptional circuit; and (iii) perturbing CIP2A expression induces GBM cell senescence and retards tumor growth in vitro and in vivo. Taken together, we have identified an oncogenic transcriptional circuit in GBM that can be destabilized by targeting CIP2A. IMPLICATIONS: High expression of CIP2A in gliomas is maintained by a CHK1-dependent pSTAT3-CIP2A recursive loop; interrupting CIP2A induces cell senescence and slows GBM growth adding impetus to the development of CIP2A as an anticancer drug target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-722
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular cancer research : MCR
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • glioblastoma (GBM)
  • protein checkpoint kinase 1 (CHK1)
  • tumorigenesis


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