Emerging roles of DYRK2 in cancer

Vasudha Tandon, Laureano de la Vega, Sourav Banerjee (Lead / Corresponding author)

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34 Citations (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)


Over the last decade, the CMGC kinase DYRK2 has been reported as a tumor suppressor across various cancers triggering major antitumor and proapoptotic signals in breast, colon, liver, ovary, brain, and lung cancers, with lower DYRK2 expression correlated with poorer prognosis in patients. Contrary to this, various medicinal chemistry studies reported robust antiproliferative properties of DYRK2 inhibitors, whereas unbiased 'omics' and genome-wide association studybased studies identified DYRK2 as a highly overexpressed kinase in various patient tumor samples. A major paradigm shift occurred in the last 4 years when DYRK2 was found to regulate proteostasis in cancer via a two-pronged mechanism. DYRK2 phosphorylated and activated the 26S proteasome to enhance degradation of misfolded/tumor-suppressor proteins while also promoting the nuclear stability and transcriptional activity of its substrate, heat-shock factor 1 triggering protein folding. Together, DYRK2 regulates proteostasis and promotes protumorigenic survival for specific cancers. Indeed, potent and selective small-molecule inhibitors of DYRK2 exhibit in vitro and in vivo anti-tumor activity in triple-negative breast cancer and myeloma models. However, with conflicting and contradictory reports across different cancers, the overarching role of DYRK2 remains enigmatic. Specific cancer (sub)types coupled to spatiotemporal interactions with substrates could decide the procancer or anticancer role of DYRK2. The current review aims to provide a balanced and critical appreciation of the literature to date, highlighting top substrates such as p53, c-Myc, c-Jun, heat-shock factor 1, proteasome, or NOTCH1, to discuss DYRK2 inhibitors available to the scientific community and to shed light on this duality of protumorigenic and antitumorigenic roles of DYRK2.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100233
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Early online date29 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2021


  • protein kinase
  • kinase inhibitor
  • proteasome
  • stress
  • phosphorylation
  • E3 ligase
  • proteostasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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