Targeted Restoration of Down-regulated DAPK2 Tumor Suppressor Activity Induces Apoptosis in Hodgkin Lymphoma Cells

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Death-associated protein kinase 2 (DAPK2) is a calcium/calmodulin-regulated proapoptotic serine/threonine kinase that acts as a tumor suppressor. Here we show that DAPK2 is down-regulated in Hodgkin lymphoma-derived tumor cell lines and that promoter-region hypermethylation is one mechanism for DAPK2 inactivation. To determine whether selective reconstitution of DAPK2 catalytic activity in these cells could induce apoptosis, we created a fusion protein comprising a human CD30 ligand conjugated to a human DAPK2 calmodulin-deletion mutant. Thus, recombinant immunokinase DAPK2′-CD30L has a constitutive kinase activity with enhanced proapoptotic function. We show that this immunokinase fusion protein inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptotic cell death specifically in CD30+/DAPK2-negative tumor cell lines. This proof-of–concept study provides the first demonstration of therapeutic strategies based on the restoration of a defective, tumor-suppressing kinase activity by a novel class of recombinant immunotherapeutics.

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