Supplementary Data from VRK1 Is a Synthetic–Lethal Target in VRK2-Deficient Glioblastoma
ARTICLE ABSTRACTSynthetic lethality is a genetic interaction that results in cell death when two genetic deficiencies co-occur but not when either deficiency occurs alone, which can be co-opted for cancer therapeutics. Pairs of paralog genes are among the most straightforward potential synthetic–lethal interactions by virtue of their redundant functions. Here, we demonstrate a paralog-based synthetic lethality by targeting vaccinia-related kinase 1 (VRK1) in glioblastoma (GBM) deficient of VRK2, which is silenced by promoter methylation in approximately two thirds of GBM. Genetic knockdown of VRK1 in VRK2-null or VRK2-methylated cells resulted in decreased activity of the downstream substrate barrier to autointegration factor (BAF), a regulator of post-mitotic nuclear envelope formation. Reduced BAF activity following VRK1 knockdown caused nuclear lobulation, blebbing, and micronucleation, which subsequently resulted in G2–M arrest and DNA damage. The VRK1–VRK2 synthetic–lethal interaction was dependent on VRK1 kinase activity and was rescued by ectopic expression of VRK2. In VRK2-methylated GBM cell line–derived xenograft and patient-derived xenograft models, knockdown of VRK1 led to robust tumor growth inhibition. These results indicate that inhibiting VRK1 kinase activity could be a viable therapeutic strategy in VRK2-methylated GBM.
A paralog synthetic–lethal interaction between VRK1 and VRK2 sensitizes VRK2-methylated glioblastoma to perturbation of VRK1 kinase activity, supporting VRK1 as a drug discovery target in this disease.