Gene Summary

Gene:PIM2; Pim-2 proto-oncogene, serine/threonine kinase
Summary:This gene encodes a protooncogene that acts as a serine/threonine protein kinase. Studies determined the encoded protein functions to prevent apoptosis and to promote cell survival.[provided by RefSeq, Nov 2009]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:serine/threonine-protein kinase pim-2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 13 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (14)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 13 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Oncogenes
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Signal Transduction
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Cell Nucleus
  • Transcription
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Transduction
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Young Adult
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-1
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • X Chromosome
  • Cell Proliferation
  • siRNA
  • BAD
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3
  • Messenger RNA
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • NF-kappa B
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Cell Survival
  • Transfection
  • Liver Cancer
  • Phosphorylation
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cell Line
  • Apoptosis
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-pim-1
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Gene Expression
  • Virus Integration
  • Leukemic Gene Expression Regulation
  • Up-Regulation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Xenograft Models
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
Tag cloud generated 13 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: PIM2 (cancer-related)

Kreuz S, Holmes KB, Tooze RM, Lefevre PF
Loss of PIM2 enhances the anti-proliferative effect of the pan-PIM kinase inhibitor AZD1208 in non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
Mol Cancer. 2015; 14:205 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: A promising therapeutic approach for aggressive B-cell Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), and Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is to target kinases involved in signal transduction and gene regulation. PIM1/2 serine/threonine kinases are highly expressed in activated B-cell-like DLBCL (ABC-DLBCL) with poor prognosis. In addition, both PIM kinases have a reported synergistic effect with c-MYC in mediating tumour development in several cancers, c-MYC gene being translocated to one of the immunoglobulin loci in nearly all BLs.
METHODS: For these reasons, we tested the efficiency of several PIM kinase inhibitors (AZD1208, SMI4a, PIM1/2 inhibitor VI and Quercetagetin) in preventing proliferation of aggressive NHL-derived cell lines and compared their efficiency with PIM1 and/or PIM2 knockdown.
RESULTS: We observed that most of the anti-proliferative potential of these inhibitors in NHL was due to an off-target effect. Interestingly, we present evidence of a kinase-independent function of PIM2 in regulating cell cycle. Moreover, combining AZD1208 treatment and PIM2 knockdown additively repressed cell proliferation.
CONCLUSION: Taken together, this study suggests that at least a part of PIM1/2 oncogenic potential could be independent of their kinase activity, justifying the limited anti-tumorigenic outcome of PIM-kinase inhibitors in NHL.

Adam K, Lambert M, Lestang E, et al.
Control of Pim2 kinase stability and expression in transformed human haematopoietic cells.
Biosci Rep. 2015; 35(6) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The oncogenic Pim2 kinase is overexpressed in several haematological malignancies, such as multiple myeloma and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), and constitutes a strong therapeutic target candidate. Like other Pim kinases, Pim2 is constitutively active and is believed to be essentially regulated through its accumulation. We show that in leukaemic cells, the three Pim2 isoforms have dramatically short half-lives although the longer isoform is significantly more stable than the shorter isoforms. All isoforms present a cytoplasmic localization and their degradation was neither modified by broad-spectrum kinase or phosphatase inhibitors such as staurosporine or okadaic acid nor by specific inhibition of several intracellular signalling pathways including Erk, Akt and mTORC1. Pim2 degradation was inhibited by proteasome inhibitors but Pim2 ubiquitination was not detected even by blocking both proteasome activity and protein de-ubiquitinases (DUBs). Moreover, Pyr41, an ubiquitin-activating enzyme (E1) inhibitor, did not stabilize Pim2, strongly suggesting that Pim2 was degraded by the proteasome without ubiquitination. In agreement, we observed that purified 20S proteasome particles could degrade Pim2 molecule in vitro. Pim2 mRNA accumulation in UT7 cells was controlled by erythropoietin (Epo) through STAT5 transcription factors. In contrast, the translation of Pim2 mRNA was not regulated by mTORC1. Overall, our results suggest that Pim2 is only controlled by its mRNA accumulation level. Catalytically active Pim2 accumulated in proteasome inhibitor-treated myeloma cells. We show that Pim2 inhibitors and proteasome inhibitors, such as bortezomib, have additive effects to inhibit the growth of myeloma cells, suggesting that Pim2 could be an interesting target for the treatment of multiple myeloma.

Zhang XH, Yu HL, Wang FJ, et al.
Pim-2 Modulates Aerobic Glycolysis and Energy Production during the Development of Colorectal Tumors.
Int J Med Sci. 2015; 12(6):487-93 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor cells have higher rates of glucose uptake and aerobic glycolysis to meet energy demands for proliferation and metastasis. The characteristics of increased glucose uptake, accompanied with aerobic glycolysis, has been exploited for the diagnosis of cancers. Although much progress has been made, the mechanisms regulating tumor aerobic glycolysis and energy production are still not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that Pim-2 is required for glycolysis and energy production in colorectal tumor cells. Our results show that Pim-2 is highly expressed in colorectal tumor cells, and may be induced by nutrient stimulation. Activation of Pim-2 in colorectal cells led to increase glucose utilization and aerobic glycolysis, as well as energy production. While knockdown of Pim-2 decreased energy production in colorectal tumor cells and increased their susceptibility to apoptosis. Moreover, the effects of Pim-2 kinase on aerobic glycolysis seem to be partly dependent on mTORC1 signaling, because inhibition of mTORC1 activity reversed the aerobic glycolysis mediated by Pim-2. Our findings suggest that Pim-2-mediated aerobic glycolysis is critical for monitoring Warburg effect in colorectal tumor cells, highlighting Pim-2 as a potential metabolic target for colorectal tumor therapy.

Wang L, Yao ZQ, Moorman JP, et al.
Gene expression profiling identifies IRF4-associated molecular signatures in hematological malignancies.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(9):e106788 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The lymphocyte-specific transcription factor Interferon (IFN) Regulatory Factor 4 (IRF4) is implicated in certain types of lymphoid and myeloid malignancies. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying its interactions with these malignancies are largely unknown. In this study, we have first profiled molecular signatures associated with IRF4 expression in associated cancers, by analyzing existing gene expression profiling datasets. Our results show that IRF4 is overexpressed in melanoma, in addition to previously reported contexts including leukemia, myeloma, and lymphoma, and that IRF4 is associated with a unique gene expression pattern in each context. A pool of important genes involved in B-cell development, oncogenesis, cell cycle regulation, and cell death including BATF, LIMD1, CFLAR, PIM2, and CCND2 are common signatures associated with IRF4 in non-Hodgkin B cell lymphomas. We confirmed the correlation of IRF4 with LIMD1 and CFLAR in a panel of cell lines derived from lymphomas. Moreover, we profiled the IRF4 transcriptome in the context of EBV latent infection, and confirmed several genes including IFI27, IFI44, GBP1, and ARHGAP18, as well as CFLAR as novel targets for IRF4. These results provide valuable information for understanding the IRF4 regulatory network, and improve our knowledge of the unique roles of IRF4 in different hematological malignancies.

Meja K, Stengel C, Sellar R, et al.
PIM and AKT kinase inhibitors show synergistic cytotoxicity in acute myeloid leukaemia that is associated with convergence on mTOR and MCL1 pathways.
Br J Haematol. 2014; 167(1):69-79 [PubMed] Related Publications
PIM kinases (PIM1, 2 and 3) are involved in cell proliferation and survival signalling and are emerging targets for the therapy of various malignancies. We found that a significant proportion of primary acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) samples showed PIM1 and PIM2 expression by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Therefore, we investigated the effects of a novel ATP-competitive pan-PIM inhibitor, AZD1897, on AML cell growth and survival. PIM inhibition showed limited single agent activity in AML cell lines and primary AML cells, including those with or without FLT3-internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutation. However, significant synergy was seen when AZD1897 was combined with the Akt inhibitor AZD5363, a compound that is in early-phase clinical trials. AML cells from putative leukaemia stem cell subsets, including CD34+38- and CD34+38+ fractions, were equivalently affected by dual PIM/Akt inhibition when compared with bulk tumour cells. Analysis of downstream signalling pathways showed that combined PIM/Akt inhibition downregulated mTOR outputs (phosphorylation of 4EBP1 and S6) and markedly reduced levels of the anti-apoptotic protein MCL1. The combination of PIM and Akt inhibition holds promise for the treatment of AML.

Decker S, Finter J, Forde AJ, et al.
PIM kinases are essential for chronic lymphocytic leukemia cell survival (PIM2/3) and CXCR4-mediated microenvironmental interactions (PIM1).
Mol Cancer Ther. 2014; 13(5):1231-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
Overexpression of the CXCR4 receptor is a hallmark of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and is important for CLL cell survival, migration, and interaction with their protective microenvironment. In acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), PIM1 was shown to regulate the surface expression of the CXCR4 receptor. Here, we show that PIM (proviral integration site for Moloney murine leukemia virus) kinases 1-3 are overexpressed and that the CXCR4 receptor is hyperphosphorylated on Ser339 in CLL compared with normal lymphocytes. Furthermore, CXCR4 phosphorylation correlates with PIM1 protein expression and PIM1 transcript levels in CLL. PIM kinase inhibition with three different PIM kinase inhibitors induced apoptosis in CLL cells independent of the presence of protective stromal cells. In addition, PIM inhibition caused dephosphorylation of the CXCR4 receptor on Ser339, resulting in enhanced ligand-dependent CXCR4 internalization and reduced re-externalization after withdrawal of CXCL12. Furthermore, PIM inhibition in CLL cells blocked CXCR4 functions, such as migration toward CXCL12- or CXCL12-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation. In concordance, pretreatment of CLL cells with PIM kinase inhibitors strongly reduced homing of CLL cells toward the bone marrow and the spleen of Rag2(-/-)γc(-/-) mice in vivo. Interestingly, the knockdown of PIM kinases in CLL cells demonstrated diverging functions, with PIM1 regulating CXCR4 surface expression and PIM2 and PIM3 as important for the survival of CLL cells. Our results show that PIM kinase inhibitors are an effective therapeutic option for CLL, not only by impairing PIM2/3-mediated CLL cell survival, but also by blocking the PIM1/CXCR4-mediated interaction of CLL cells with their protective microenvironment.

Yu Z, Zhao X, Ge Y, et al.
A regulatory feedback loop between HIF-1α and PIM2 in HepG2 cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(2):e88301 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
To survive under hypoxic conditions, cancer cells remodel glucose metabolism to support tumor progression. HIF transcription factor is essential for cellular response to hypoxia. The underlying mechanism how HIF is constitutively activated in cancer cells remains elusive. In the present study, we characterized a regulatory feedback loop between HIF-1α and PIM2 in HepG2 cells. Serine/threonine kinase proto-oncogene PIM2 level was induced upon hypoxia in a HIF-1α-mediated manner in cancer cells. HIF-1α induced PIM2 expression via binding to the hypoxia-responsive elements (HREs) of the PIM2 promoter. In turn, PIM2 interacted with HIF-1α, especially a transactivation domain of HIF-1α. PIM2 as a co-factor but not an upstream kinase of HIF-1α, enhanced HIF-1α effect in response to hypoxia. The positive feedback loop between PIM2 and HIF-1α was correlated with glucose metabolism as well as cell survival in HepG2 cells. Such a regulatory mode may be important for the adaptive responses of cancer cells in antagonizing hypoxia during cancer progression.

Yu Z, Zhao X, Huang L, et al.
Proviral insertion in murine lymphomas 2 (PIM2) oncogene phosphorylates pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) and promotes glycolysis in cancer cells.
J Biol Chem. 2013; 288(49):35406-16 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) is a key player in the Warburg effect of cancer cells. However, the mechanisms of regulating PKM2 are not fully elucidated. Here, we identified the protein-serine/threonine kinase PIM2, a known oncogene, as a novel binding partner of PKM2. The interaction between PIM2 and PKM2 was confirmed by multiple biochemical approaches in vitro and in cultured cells. Importantly, we found that PIM2 could directly phosphorylate PKM2 on the Thr-454 residue, resulting in an increase of PKM2 protein levels. Compared with wild type, PKM2 with the phosphorylation-defective mutation displayed a reduced effect on glycolysis, co-activating HIF-1α and β-catenin, and cell proliferation, while enhancing mitochondrial respiration of cancer cells. These findings demonstrate that PIM2-dependent phosphorylation of PKM2 is critical for regulating the Warburg effect in cancer, highlighting PIM2 as a potential therapeutic target.

Leclerc GM, Leclerc GJ, Kuznetsov JN, et al.
Metformin induces apoptosis through AMPK-dependent inhibition of UPR signaling in ALL lymphoblasts.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(8):e74420 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The outcome of patients with resistant phenotypes of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or those who relapse remains poor. We investigated the mechanism of cell death induced by metformin in Bp- and T-ALL cell models and primary cells, and show that metformin effectively induces apoptosis in ALL cells. Metformin activated AMPK, down-regulated the unfolded protein response (UPR) demonstrated by significant decrease in the main UPR regulator GRP78, and led to UPR-mediated cell death via up-regulation of the ER stress/UPR cell death mediators IRE1α and CHOP. Using shRNA, we demonstrate that metformin-induced apoptosis is AMPK-dependent since AMPK knock-down rescued ALL cells, which correlated with down-regulation of IRE1α and CHOP and restoration of the UPR/GRP78 function. Additionally rapamycin, a known inhibitor of mTOR-dependent protein synthesis, rescued cells from metformin-induced apoptosis and down-regulated CHOP expression. Finally, metformin induced PIM-2 kinase activity and co-treatment of ALL cells with a PIM-1/2 kinase inhibitor plus metformin synergistically increased cell death, suggesting a buffering role for PIM-2 in metformin's cytotoxicity. Similar synergism was seen with agents targeting Akt in combination with metformin, supporting our original postulate that AMPK and Akt exert opposite regulatory roles on UPR activity in ALL. Taken together, our data indicate that metformin induces ALL cell death by triggering ER and proteotoxic stress and simultaneously down-regulating the physiologic UPR response responsible for effectively buffering proteotoxic stress. Our findings provide evidence for a role of metformin in ALL therapy and support strategies targeting synthetic lethal interactions with Akt and PIM kinases as suitable for future consideration for clinical translation in ALL.

Kapelko-Słowik K, Urbaniak-Kujda D, Wołowiec D, et al.
Expression of PIM-2 and NF-κB genes is increased in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and is associated with complete remission rate and overall survival.
Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online). 2013; 67:553-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: PIM-2 is a proto-oncogene that encodes for a serine/threonine kinase that interacts with various signaling molecules. PIM-2 is highly expressed in neoplastic tissues and in leukemic and lymphoma cell lines, which is consistent with its role during oncogenic transformation. The nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathway appears to be deregulated in a variety of tumors, with sustained activity of NF-κB leading to apoptotic resistance in tumor cells. The aim of this study was to investigate whether expression of PIM-2 and NF-κB is altered in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: One hundred forty-three patients were included: 91 with AML and 52 with ALL, aged 18-84 (median 46.7). Eighty-three patients (51 AML and 32 ALL) reached complete remission (CR). Bone marrow samples were collected at the time of diagnosis. Control samples were obtained from 24 healthy donors. We analyzed PIM-2 and NF-κB expression by RQ-PCR analysis.
RESULTS: Expression of both PIM-2 and NF-κB in all leukemia patients and subgroups was significantly higher than in controls. AML patients who reached CR expressed PIM-2 and NF-κB at significantly lower levels than did patients with primary resistance to chemotherapy and who did not reach CR (NCR). Survival analysis revealed that in AML patients with higher expression of PIM-2 the overall survival (OS) was significantly shorter than in patients with lower expression.
CONCLUSION: Our data indicate that PIM-2 and NF-κB gene expression is increased in patients with AML and ALL. Moreover, high PIM-2 expression is associated with CR rate and OS in AML patients.

Yang Q, Chen LS, Neelapu SS, et al.
Transcription and translation are primary targets of Pim kinase inhibitor SGI-1776 in mantle cell lymphoma.
Blood. 2012; 120(17):3491-500 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Proviral integration site for Moloney murine leukemia virus (Pim) kinases are serine/threonine/tyrosine kinases and oncoproteins that promote tumor progression. Three isoforms of Pim kinases have been identified and are known to phosphorylate numerous substrates, with regulatory functions in transcription, translation, cell cycle, and survival pathways. These kinases are involved in production, proliferation, and survival of normal B cells and are overexpressed in B-cell malignancies such as mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). SGI-1776 is a small molecule and Pim kinase inhibitor with selectivity for Pim-1. We hypothesize that Pim kinase function can be inhibited by SGI-1776 in MCL and that inhibition of phosphorylation of downstream substrates will disrupt transcriptional, translational, and cell cycle processes and promote cell death. SGI-1776 treatment in 4 MCL cell lines resulted in apoptosis induction. Phosphorylation of transcription (c-Myc) and translation targets (4E-BP1), tested in Jeko-1 and Mino, was declined. Consistent with these data, Mcl-1 and cyclin D1 protein levels were decreased. Importantly, similar to cell line data, MCL primary cells but not normal cells showed similar inhibition of substrate phosphorylation and cytotoxicity from SGI-1776 treatment. Genetic knockdown of Pim-1/Pim-2 affected similar proteins in MCL cell lines. Collectively these data demonstrate Pim kinases as therapeutic targets in MCL.

Jang SH, Chung HY
MYC and PIM2 co-expression in mouse bone marrow cells readily establishes permanent myeloid cell lines that can induce lethal myeloid sarcoma in vivo.
Mol Cells. 2012; 34(2):201-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The hematopoietic cell malignancy is one of the most prevalent type of cancer and the disease has multiple pathologic molecular signatures. Research on the origin of hematopoietic cancer stem cells and the mode of subsequent maintenance and differentiation needs robust animal models that can reproduce the transformation and differentiation event in vivo. Here, we show that co-transduction of MYC and PIM2 proto-oncogenes into mouse bone marrow cells readily establishes permanent cell lines that can induce lethal myeloid sarcoma in vivo. Unlike the previous doubly transgenic mouse model in which coexpression of MYC and PIM2 transgenes exclusively induced B cell lymphoma, we were able to show that the same combination of genes can also transform primary bone marrow myeloid cells in vitro resulting in permanent cell lines which induce myeloid sarcoma upon in vivo transplantation. By inducing cancerous transformation of fresh bone marrow cells in a controlled environment, the model we established will be useful for detailed study of the molecular events involved in initial transformation process of primary myeloid bone marrow cells and provides a model that can give insight to the molecular pathologic characteristics of human myeloid sarcoma, a rare presentation of solid tumors of undifferentiated myeloid blast cells associated with various types of myeloid leukemia.

Jiang Y, Soong TD, Wang L, et al.
Genome-wide detection of genes targeted by non-Ig somatic hypermutation in lymphoma.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(7):e40332 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The processes of somatic hypermutation (SHM) and class switch recombination introduced by activation-induced cytosine deaminase (AICDA) at the Immunoglobulin (Ig) loci are key steps for creating a pool of diversified antibodies in germinal center B cells (GCBs). Unfortunately, AICDA can also accidentally introduce mutations at bystander loci, particularly within the 5' regulatory regions of proto-oncogenes relevant to diffuse large B cell lymphomas (DLBCL). Since current methods for genomewide sequencing such as Exon Capture and RNAseq only target mutations in coding regions, to date non-Ig promoter SHMs have been studied only in a handful genes. We designed a novel approach integrating bioinformatics tools with next generation sequencing technology to identify regulatory loci targeted by SHM genome-wide. We observed increased numbers of SHM associated sequence variant hotspots in lymphoma cells as compared to primary normal germinal center B cells. Many of these SHM hotspots map to genes that have not been reported before as mutated, including BACH2, BTG2, CXCR4, CIITA, EBF1, PIM2, and TCL1A, etc., all of which have potential roles in B cell survival, differentiation, and malignant transformation. In addition, using BCL6 and BACH2 as examples, we demonstrated that SHM sites identified in these 5' regulatory regions greatly altered their transcription activities in a reporter assay. Our approach provides a first cost-efficient, genome-wide method to identify regulatory mutations and non-Ig SHM hotspots.

Alvarado Y, Giles FJ, Swords RT
The PIM kinases in hematological cancers.
Expert Rev Hematol. 2012; 5(1):81-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
The PIM genes represent a family of proto-oncogenes that encode three different serine/threonine protein kinases (PIM1, PIM2 and PIM3) with essential roles in the regulation of signal transduction cascades, which promote cell survival, proliferation and drug resistance. PIM kinases are overexpressed in several hematopoietic tumors and support in vitro and in vivo malignant cell growth and survival, through cell cycle regulation and inhibition of apoptosis. PIM kinases do not have an identified regulatory domain, which means that these proteins are constitutively active once transcribed. They appear to be critical downstream effectors of important oncoproteins and, when overexpressed, can mediate drug resistance to available agents, such as rapamycin. Recent crystallography studies reveal that, unlike other kinases, they possess a hinge region, which creates a unique binding pocket for ATP, offering a target for an increasing number of potent small-molecule PIM kinase inhibitors. Preclinical studies in models of various hematologic cancers indicate that these novel agents show promising activity and some of them are currently being evaluated in a clinical setting. In this review, we profile the PIM kinases as targets for therapeutics in hematologic malignancies.

Siu A, Virtanen C, Jongstra J
PIM kinase isoform specific regulation of MIG6 expression and EGFR signaling in prostate cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2011; 2(12):1134-44 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The PIM family of oncogenic serine/threonine kinases regulates tumour cell proliferation. To identify proliferative signaling pathways that are regulated by PIM kinases we analyzed gene expression differences in DU-145 and PC3 prostate cancer derived cells induced by treatment with the recently developed highly selective PIM kinase inhibitor M-110. This identified 97 genes the expression of which is affected by M-110 in both cell lines. We then focused on the M-110 induced up regulation of the MIG6 gene that encodes a negative regulator of EGFR signaling. Here we show that M-110 and the structurally unrelated PIM kinase inhibitor SGI-1776 up regulate MIG6 in DU-145 and PC3 cells. Knockdown of PIM-1 but not of PIM-2 or PIM-3 also up regulates MIG6 expression, which identifies MIG6 as a PIM-1 regulated gene. In agreement with the role of MIG6 protein as a negative regulator of EGFR signaling we found that M-110 treatment inhibits EGF induced EGFR activation and the activation of the downstream ERK MAPkinase pathway. The biological significance of these findings are demonstrated by the fact that co-treatment of DU-145 or PC3 cells with the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor Gefitinib and M-110 or SGI-1776 has synergistic inhibitory effects on cell proliferation. These experiments define a novel biological function of PIM-1 as a co-regulator of EGFR signaling and suggest that PIM inhibitors may be used in combination therapies to increase the efficacy of EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

Gómez-Abad C, Pisonero H, Blanco-Aparicio C, et al.
PIM2 inhibition as a rational therapeutic approach in B-cell lymphoma.
Blood. 2011; 118(20):5517-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
PIM serine/threonine kinases are overexpressed, translocated, or amplified in multiple B-cell lymphoma types. We have explored the frequency and relevance of PIM expression in different B-cell lymphoma types and investigated whether PIM inhibition could be a rational therapeutic approach. Increased expression of PIM2 was detected in subsets of mantle cell lymphoma, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBLC), follicular lymphoma, marginal zone lymphoma-mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue type, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and nodal marginal zone lymphoma cases. Increased PIM2 protein expression was associated with an aggressive clinical course in activated B-like-DLBCL patients. Pharmacologic and genetic inhibition of PIM2 revealed p4E-BP1(Thr37/46) and p4E-BP1(Ser65) as molecular biomarkers characteristic of PIM2 activity and indicated the involvement of PIM2 kinase in regulating mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1. The simultaneous genetic inhibition of all 3 PIM kinases induced changes in apoptosis and cell cycle. In conclusion, we show that PIM2 kinase inhibition is a rational approach in DLBCL treatment, identify appropriate biomarkers for pharmacodynamic studies, and provide a new marker for patient stratification.

Schatz JH, Oricchio E, Wolfe AL, et al.
Targeting cap-dependent translation blocks converging survival signals by AKT and PIM kinases in lymphoma.
J Exp Med. 2011; 208(9):1799-807 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
New anticancer drugs that target oncogenic signaling molecules have greatly improved the treatment of certain cancers. However, resistance to targeted therapeutics is a major clinical problem and the redundancy of oncogenic signaling pathways provides back-up mechanisms that allow cancer cells to escape. For example, the AKT and PIM kinases produce parallel oncogenic signals and share many molecular targets, including activators of cap-dependent translation. Here, we show that PIM kinase expression can affect the clinical outcome of lymphoma chemotherapy. We observe the same in animal lymphoma models. Whereas chemoresistance caused by AKT is readily reversed with rapamycin, PIM-mediated resistance is refractory to mTORC1 inhibition. However, both PIM- and AKT-expressing lymphomas depend on cap-dependent translation, and genetic or pharmacological blockade of the translation initiation complex is highly effective against these tumors. The therapeutic effect of blocking cap-dependent translation is mediated, at least in part, by decreased production of short-lived oncoproteins including c-MYC, Cyclin D1, MCL1, and the PIM1/2 kinases themselves. Hence, targeting the convergence of oncogenic survival signals on translation initiation is an effective alternative to combinations of kinase inhibitors.

Chen LS, Redkar S, Taverna P, et al.
Mechanisms of cytotoxicity to Pim kinase inhibitor, SGI-1776, in acute myeloid leukemia.
Blood. 2011; 118(3):693-702 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pim kinases are Ser/Thr kinases with multiple substrates that affect survival pathways. These proteins are overexpressed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) blasts and we hypothesized that Pim kinase inhibition would affect AML cell survival. Imidazo[1,2-b]pyridazine compound, SGI-1776 inhibits Pim-1, Pim-2 and Pim-3, and was evaluated in AML-cell line, -xenograft model, and -primary blasts. Treatment of AML cells with SGI-1776 results in a concentration-dependent induction of apoptosis and we investigated its effect on Pim kinase functions. Phosphorylation of traditional Pim kinase targets, c-Myc(Ser62) and 4E-BP1 (Thr36/Thr47), were both decreased in actively cycling AML cell lines MV-4-11, MOLM-13 and OCI-AML-3. Levels of antiapoptotic proteins Bcl-2, Bcl-x(L), XIAP, and proapoptotic Bak and Bax were unchanged; however, a significant reduction in Mcl-1 was observed. This was correlated with inhibition of global RNA and protein synthesis and MCL-1 transcript decline after SGI-1776 treatment. These data suggest that SGI-1776 mechanism in AML involves Mcl-1 protein reduction. Consistent with cell line data, xenograft model studies with mice bearing MV-4-11 tumors showed efficacy with SGI-1776. Importantly, SGI-1776 was also cytotoxic in AML primary cells, irrespective of FLT3 mutation status and resulted in Mcl-1 protein decline. Pim kinase inhibition may be a new strategy for AML treatment.

Asano J, Nakano A, Oda A, et al.
The serine/threonine kinase Pim-2 is a novel anti-apoptotic mediator in myeloma cells.
Leukemia. 2011; 25(7):1182-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) and osteoclasts (OCs) confer multiple myeloma (MM) cell survival through elaborating factors. We demonstrate herein that IL-6 and TNF family cytokines, TNFα, BAFF and APRIL, but not IGF-1 cooperatively enhance the expression of the serine/threonine kinase Pim-2 in MM cells. BMSCs and OCs upregulate Pim-2 expression in MM cells largely via the IL-6/STAT3 and NF-κB pathway, respectively. Pim-2 short interfering RNA reduces MM cell viability in cocultures with BMSCs or OCs. Thus, upregulation of Pim-2 appears to be a novel anti-apoptotic mechanism for MM cell survival. Interestingly, the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor rapamycin further suppresses the MM cell viability in combination with the Pim-2 silencing. The Pim inhibitor (Z)-5-(4-propoxybenzylidene) thiazolidine-2, 4-dione and the PI3K inhibitor LY294002 cooperatively enhance MM cell death. The Pim inhibitor suppresses 4E-BP1 phosphorylation along with the reduction of Mcl-1 and c-Myc. Pim-2 may therefore become a new target for MM treatment.

Narayansingh R, Ouellette RJ
Paired box gene 5 may modulate Proviral Integration of Moloney virus 2 gene and protein expression in mature B-cells.
Leuk Lymphoma. 2011; 52(5):887-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
Deregulated transcription factor Paired box gene 5 (Pax-5) expression has been implicated in B-cell lymphoma in human disease. Proviral Integration of Moloney virus 2 (Pim-2) kinase may play a role in apoptosis and chemotherapy resistance. We characterized the expression of Pax-5 and Pim-2 in mature B-cell lines and 293T cells transfected with human isoforms of Pax-5. By quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), we showed that Pax-5 isoforms significantly increased Pim-2 mRNA expression in 293T cells and that mRNAs for both Pax-5 and Pim-2 were two-fold significantly expressed in mature malignant B-cells. Western blot analysis showed that Pim-2 protein expression was increased in 293T cells transiently transfected with human isoforms of Pax-5 and that Pax-5 isoforms and Pim-2 proteins were expressed in mature B-cell lines. By electrophoretic mobility shift analysis, we showed that Pax-5 isoforms were able to bind to the Pim-2 promoter region. Taken together, these results suggest that Pax-5 may act as a transcription factor to modulate the expression of Pim-2 and that both proteins may play a role in the oncogenesis of mature B-cell lymphoma.

Rosebeck S, Madden L, Jin X, et al.
Cleavage of NIK by the API2-MALT1 fusion oncoprotein leads to noncanonical NF-kappaB activation.
Science. 2011; 331(6016):468-72 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Proper regulation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) transcriptional activity is required for normal lymphocyte function, and deregulated NF-κB signaling can facilitate lymphomagenesis. We demonstrate that the API2-MALT1 fusion oncoprotein created by the recurrent t(11;18)(q21;q21) in mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma induces proteolytic cleavage of NF-κB-inducing kinase (NIK) at arginine 325. NIK cleavage requires the concerted actions of both fusion partners and generates a C-terminal NIK fragment that retains kinase activity and is resistant to proteasomal degradation. The resulting deregulated NIK activity is associated with constitutive noncanonical NF-κB signaling, enhanced B cell adhesion, and apoptosis resistance. Our study reveals the gain-of-function proteolytic activity of a fusion oncoprotein and highlights the importance of the noncanonical NF-κB pathway in B lymphoproliferative disease.

Zemskova M, Lilly MB, Lin YW, et al.
p53-dependent induction of prostate cancer cell senescence by the PIM1 protein kinase.
Mol Cancer Res. 2010; 8(8):1126-41 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The PIM family of serine threonine protein kinases plays an important role in regulating both the growth and transformation of malignant cells. However, in a cell line-dependent manner, overexpression of PIM1 can inhibit cell and tumor growth. In 22Rv1 human prostate cells, but not in Du145 or RWPE-2, PIM1 overexpression was associated with marked increases in cellular senescence, as shown by changes in the levels of beta-galactosidase (SA-beta-Gal), p21, interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 mRNA and protein. During early cell passages, PIM1 induced cellular polyploidy. As the passage number increased, markers of DNA damage, including the level of gammaH2AX and CHK2 phosphorylation, were seen. Coincident with these DNA damage markers, the level of p53 protein and genes transcriptionally activated by p53, such as p21, TP53INP1, and DDIT4, increased. In these 22Rv1 cells, the induction of p53 protein was associated not only with senescence but also with a significant level of apoptosis. The importance of the p53 pathway to PIM1-driven cellular senescence was further shown by the observation that expression of dominant-negative p53 or shRNA targeting p21 blocked the PIM1-induced changes in the DNA damage response and increases in SA-beta-Gal activity. Likewise, in a subcutaneous tumor model, PIM1-induced senescence was rescued when the p53-p21 pathways are inactivated. Based on these results, PIM1 will have its most profound effects on tumorigenesis in situations where the senescence response is inactivated.

Ren K, Duan W, Shi Y, et al.
Ectopic over-expression of oncogene Pim-2 induce malignant transformation of nontumorous human liver cell line L02.
J Korean Med Sci. 2010; 25(7):1017-23 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In order to prove that ectopic over-expression of Pim-2 could induce malignant transformation of human liver cell line L02, three groups of cells were set up including human liver cell line L02 (L02), L02 cells transfected with Pim-2 gene (L02/Pim-2) and L02 cells transfected with empty-vector (L02/Vector). Pim-2 expression levels were detected. The morphology, proliferation level, apoptosis rate and migration ability of the cells were detected respectively. Then the cells were subcutaneously inoculated into athymic mice and the microstructures of the neoplasm were observed. Compared with the controls, Pim-2 expression levels were significantly higher in L02/Pim-2 cells (P<0.05), and their morphology had obvious malignant changes. They also showed a significantly increased proliferation rate (P<0.05) and migration capacity (P<0.05), as well as a significantly decreased apoptosis rate (P<0.05). Only the athymic mice inoculated with L02/Pim-2 cells could generate neoplasm, and the morphology of the neoplasm coincided with that of the hepatoma. The results manifest that ectopic Pim-2 gene could be stably expressed in L02/Pim-2 cells. Both the morphological and biological changes of L02/Pim-2 cells demonstrate the trend of malignant transformation. L02/Pim-2 cells could generate hepatoma in athymic mice. In conclusion, Pim-2 could induce malignant transformation of human liver cell line L02.

Wang Z, Zhang Y, Gu JJ, et al.
Pim-2 phosphorylation of p21(Cip1/WAF1) enhances its stability and inhibits cell proliferation in HCT116 cells.
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2010; 42(6):1030-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pim-2 kinase is one of the three highly conserved Pim family members which are known to be involved in cell survival and cell proliferation. Here we demonstrate that like Pim-1, Pim-2 also phosphorylates the cell cycle inhibitor p21(Cip1/WAF1) (p21) on Thr145 in vitro and in vivo. Overexpression of Pim-2 in HCT116 cells leads to the increased stability of p21 and results in enhanced levels of both exogenous and endogenous p21 proteins. Knockdown of Pim-2 expression via siRNA results in reduced level of endogenous p21, indicating that like Pim-1, Pim-2 is another legitimate p21 kinase. However, Pim-2 has no influence on the nuclear localization of p21 in HCT116 cells. In addition, Pim-2 is able to arrest the cell cycle at G1/S phase and inhibit cell proliferation through phosphorylation of p21 in HCT116 cells. These data suggest that Pim-2 phosphorylation of p21 enhances p21's stability and inhibits cell proliferation in HCT116 cells.

Agrawal-Singh S, Koschmieder S, Gelsing S, et al.
Pim2 cooperates with PML-RARalpha to induce acute myeloid leukemia in a bone marrow transplantation model.
Blood. 2010; 115(22):4507-16 [PubMed] Related Publications
Although the potential role of Pim2 as a cooperative oncogene has been well described in lymphoma, its role in leukemia has remained largely unexplored. Here we show that high expression of Pim2 is observed in patients with acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). To further characterize the cooperative role of Pim2 with promyelocytic leukemia/retinoic acid receptor alpha (PML/RARalpha), we used a well-established PML-RARalpha (PRalpha) mouse model. Pim2 coexpression in PRalpha-positive hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) induces leukemia in recipient mice after a short latency. Pim2-PRalpha cells were able to repopulate mice in serial transplantations and to induce disease in all recipients. Neither Pim2 nor PRalpha alone was sufficient to induce leukemia upon transplantation in this model. The disease induced by Pim2 overexpression in PRalpha cells contained a slightly higher fraction of immature myeloid cells, compared with the previously described APL disease induced by PRalpha. However, it also clearly resembled an APL-like phenotype and showed signs of differentiation upon all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) treatment in vitro. These results support the hypothesis that Pim2, which is also a known target of Flt3-ITD (another gene that cooperates with PML-RARalpha), cooperates with PRalpha to induce APL-like disease.

Ren K, Zhang W, Shi Y, Gong J
Pim-2 activates API-5 to inhibit the apoptosis of hepatocellular carcinoma cells through NF-kappaB pathway.
Pathol Oncol Res. 2010; 16(2):229-37 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pim-2 is proved to be relevant to the tumorigenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but the mechanism is unclear. We studied the relationship among Pim-2, NF-kappaB and API-5. In our experiment, expression level of the three factors and phosphorylation level of API-5, as well as NF-kappaB activity, were detected in HCC tissues and the nontumorous controls. Then Pim-2 gene was transfected into nontumorous liver cells L02, and Pim-2 SiRNA was transfected into hepatoblastoma cell line HepG2. Parthenolide was added as NF-kappaB inhibitor. The same detections as above were repeated in the cells, along with the apoptosis analysis. We found the levels of Pim-2, NF-kappaB and API-5, as well as NF-kappaB activity, were significantly higher in HCC tissues. Pim-2 level was increased in L02 cells after the transfection of Pim-2 gene, but decreased in HepG2 cells after the transfection of Pim-2 SiRNA. The levels of NF-kappaB and API-5, as well as NF-kappaB activity and API-5 phosphorylation level, were in accordance with Pim-2 level, but could be reversed by Parthenolide. Cell apoptosis rates were negatively correlated with API-5 phosphorylation level. Therefore, we infer that Pim-2 could activate API-5 to inhibit the apoptosis of liver cells, and NF-kappaB is the key regulator.

Gong J, Wang J, Ren K, et al.
Serine/threonine kinase Pim-2 promotes liver tumorigenesis induction through mediating survival and preventing apoptosis of liver cell.
J Surg Res. 2009; 153(1):17-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: It has been proven that serine/threonine kinase pim-2 mediates cell survival and prevents apoptosis in hematopoietic system tumors and lymphomas, but its role in solid organ tumor induction is still unclear. In this study, we investigated its effects and underlying mechanisms in tumorigenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma.
METHODS: We first examined the pim-2 gene expression and its protein levels in human hepatocellular carcinoma, paired noncancerous liver, and normal liver tissues. Then, we cultured human liver cancer cells and immortalized liver cells to examine the effects of pim-2 gene on the cell viability, growth, and apoptosis in different culture conditions. For further investigation of the molecular events in the pim-2 signal pathway, we also explored pim-2 kinase activity on phosphorylation of the two downstream signal mediators: 4E-BP1 and Bad.
RESULTS: Pim-2 gene and protein were notably expressed in human liver cancer tissues and HepG2 cells. The ectopic pim-2 overexpressing L02 cells were able to survive in interleukin-3 (IL-3)-deprived circumstance but not in glucose-free medium. Compared with HepG2 cells, pim-2 knock-down HepG2 cells lost survival ability in IL-3 starvation medium. In pim-2-expressing cells, both the total protein expressions of 4E-BP1 and Bad were kept stable; however, their phosphorylated patterns were notably increased.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that pim-2 acts as a pro-survival kinase to inhibit apoptosis and keep liver cell survival in IL-3-deprived medium. Pim-2 might participate in the tumorigenesis of hepatocellular carcinoma induction through its downstream molecules 4E-BP1 and Bad.

Wernig G, Gonneville JR, Crowley BJ, et al.
The Jak2V617F oncogene associated with myeloproliferative diseases requires a functional FERM domain for transformation and for expression of the Myc and Pim proto-oncogenes.
Blood. 2008; 111(7):3751-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The V617F activating point mutation in Jak2 is associated with a proportion of myeloproliferative disorders. In normal hematopoietic cells, Jak2 signals only when associated with a growth factor receptor, such as the erythropoietin receptor (EpoR). We sought to identify the molecular requirements for activation of Jak2V617F by introducing a point mutation in the FERM domain (Y114A), required for receptor binding. Whereas BaF3.EpoR cells are readily transformed by Jak2V617F to Epo independence, we found that the addition of the FERM domain mutation blocked transformation and the induction of reactive oxygen species. Further, while cells expressing Jak2V617F had constitutive activation of STAT5, cells expressing Jak2V617F/Y114A did not, suggesting that signaling is defective at a very proximal level. In addition, expression of the Myc and Pim proto-oncogenes by Jak2V617F was found to be FERM domain dependent. An inducible constitutively active STAT5 mutant expressed in BaF3 cells was sufficient to induce Myc and Pim. Finally, the FERM domain in Jak2V617F was also required for abnormal hematopoiesis in transduced primary murine fetal liver cells. Overall, our results suggest that constitutive activation of Jak2 requires an intact FERM domain for a transforming phenotype, and is necessary for activation of the major target of Jak2, STAT5.

Agrawal S, Koschmieder S, Bäumer N, et al.
Pim2 complements Flt3 wild-type receptor in hematopoietic progenitor cell transformation.
Leukemia. 2008; 22(1):78-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pim2 is a serine/threonine kinase expressed at high levels in several malignancies including acute leukemia. Pim2 protein is induced by oncogenic Fms-like tyrosine kinase-3 (Flt3)-internal tandem duplications (ITD), but not by Flt3 wild-type receptor (Flt3-Wt) in response to Flt3 ligand (FL). Here we show that Pim2 can complement Flt3-Wt signaling and induce transformation similar to Flt3-ITD in myeloid cells. Our data demonstrate that Pim2 is necessary but not sufficient for Flt3-ITD-induced transformation of 32D cells and primary bone marrow cells as assessed by colony assays. Pim2-induced clonogenic growth of FL-treated 32D-Flt3-Wt cells. Proliferation of 32D-Flt3-Wt cells was significantly enhanced in FL-treated Pim2-overexpressing cells. This increase was associated with enhanced S-phase cell cycle progression. Pim2-overexpressing cells were resistant to apoptosis induced by growth factor deprivation or treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitor (PKC412). The Flt3 point mutant D835Y, which is not able to support colony growth of myeloid cells, also induced clonogenic growth in the presence of Pim2. In conclusion, Pim2 is an important target of Flt3-ITD-induced transformation, and overexpression of Pim2 together with Flt3-Wt or D835Y receptor mimics Flt3-ITD-mediated transformation. Pim2 complements with Flt3-Wt signaling to induce proliferation by enhancing G(1)/S-phase progression of the cell cycle.

Huang XX, McCaughan GW, Shackel NA, Gorrell MD
Up-regulation of proproliferative genes and the ligand/receptor pair placental growth factor and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 in hepatitis C cirrhosis.
Liver Int. 2007; 27(7):960-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Cirrhosis can lead to hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Non-diseased liver and hepatitis C virus (HCV)-associated cirrhosis with or without HCC were compared.
METHOD: Proliferation pathway genes, immune response genes and oncogenes were analysed by a quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunostaining.
RESULTS: Real-time RT-PCR showed up-regulation of genes in HCV cirrhosis including the proliferation-associated genes bone morphogenetic protein 3 (BMP3), placental growth factor 3 (PGF3), vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1 (VEGFR1) and soluble VEGFR1, the oncogene FYN, and the immune response-associated genes toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) and natural killer cell transcript 4 (NK4). Expressions of TLR2 and the oncogenes B-cell CLL/lymphoma 9 (BCL9) and PIM2 were decreased in HCV cirrhosis. In addition, PIM2 and TLR2 were increased in HCV cirrhosis with HCC compared with HCV cirrhosis. The ligand/receptor pair PGF and VEGFR1 was intensely expressed by the portal tract vascular endothelium. VEGFR1 was expressed in reactive biliary epithelial structures in fibrotic septum and in some stellate cells and macrophages.
CONCLUSION: PGF and VEGFR1 may have an important role in the pathogenesis of the neovascular response in cirrhosis.

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