Research Papers:

The protein kinase SIK downregulates the polarity protein Par3

Michael Vanlandewijck _, Mahsa Shahidi Dadras, Marta Lomnytska, Tanzila Mahzabin, Martin Lee Miller, Christer Busch, Søren Brunak, Carl-Henrik Heldin and Aristidis Moustakas

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:5716-5735. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23788

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Michael Vanlandewijck1,6,*, Mahsa Shahidi Dadras1,2,*, Marta Lomnytska3,9, Tanzila Mahzabin1,7, Martin Lee Miller4,8, Christer Busch5, Søren Brunak4, Carl-Henrik Heldin1,2 and Aristidis Moustakas1,2

1 Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Science for Life Laboratory, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

2 Department of Medical Biochemistry and Microbiology, Science for Life Laboratory, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

3 Department of Oncology and Pathology, Karolinska Biomics Center, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

4 Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

5 Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

6 Integrated Cardio Metabolic Center, Novum, Karolinska Institute, Huddinge, Sweden

7 School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia

8 Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge, Li Ka Shing Center, Cambridge, UK

9 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Academic Uppsala Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Aristidis Moustakas, email:

Keywords: cell junctions; Par3; signal transduction; SIK; TGFβ

Received: July 02, 2016 Accepted: November 26, 2017 Published: December 31, 2017


The multifunctional cytokine transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) controls homeostasis and disease during embryonic and adult life. TGFβ alters epithelial cell differentiation by inducing epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which involves downregulation of several cell-cell junctional constituents. Little is understood about the mechanism of tight junction disassembly by TGFβ. We found that one of the newly identified gene targets of TGFβ, encoding the serine/threonine kinase salt-inducible kinase 1 (SIK), controls tight junction dynamics. We provide bioinformatic and biochemical evidence that SIK can potentially phosphorylate the polarity complex protein Par3, an established regulator of tight junction assembly. SIK associates with Par3, and induces degradation of Par3 that can be prevented by proteasomal and lysosomal inhibition or by mutation of Ser885, a putative phosphorylation site on Par3. Functionally, this mechanism impacts on tight junction downregulation. Furthermore, SIK contributes to the loss of epithelial polarity and examination of advanced and invasive human cancers of diverse origin displayed high levels of SIK expression and a corresponding low expression of Par3 protein. High SIK mRNA expression also correlates with lower chance for survival in various carcinomas. In specific human breast cancer samples, aneuploidy of tumor cells best correlated with cytoplasmic SIK distribution, and SIK expression correlated with TGFβ/Smad signaling activity and low or undetectable expression of Par3. Our model suggests that SIK can act directly on the polarity protein Par3 to regulate tight junction assembly.

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