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  • Elevated expression of Aurora A and B frequently

    2024-04-02

    Elevated expression of Aurora-A and -B frequently detected in a wide variety of human cancers strongly indicate that high expression of these kinases play roles in the development of cancer associated phenotypes. While Aurora-A has been shown to function as an oncogene when over expressed in mammalian BMS 193885 synthesis in classical in vitro transformation assays and in rodent models [16], [17], there is also suggestive evidence of high Aurora-B expression being oncogenic in vivo[18]. Since the two proteins are important regulators of mitosis it is not unexpected that malignant cells over expressing the two kinases always manifest chromosomal instability. A list of proteins interacting with Aurora-A and -B in the regulation of different mitotic events is summarized in Fig. 1. As mentioned earlier, for the purpose of this article, we are not discussing the functional details of all these interactions but focusing only on those more directly implicated in the origin of cancer associated phenotypes including chromosomal instability. The underlying mechanisms giving rise to chromosome instability phenotype are, however, different for the two kinases. Aurora-A gain of function primarily deregulates mitotic entry, centrosome maturation and spindle assembly allowing aberrant progression through mitosis due to hyperactive centrosomes and multipolar spindle assembly in addition to facilitating recovery from spindle damage in cells treated with spindle poisoning drugs. Aurora-B over expression, on the other hand, interferes with chromosome bi-orientation and spindle assembly checkpoint due to enhanced disruption of kinetochore–microtubule attachments and sister chromatid cohesion besides causing abnormal cytokinesis resulting in chromosome segregation errors. Whether or not the induction of chromosome ploidy alteration plays a role in the malignant transformation process remains a matter of debate although the contribution of chromosomal instability, often associated with centrosome amplification, in progression of disease and acquiring resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs is now fairly well accepted. The latter possibility is also implicit from the observations that Aurora-A facilitates checkpoint recovery and mitotic entry after spindle damage by activating Polo like kinase-1 [19], [20] as well as by mediating the formation of kinetochore/chromatin associated microtubule assembly [21]. Additionally, Aurora-A has been implicated in the induction of centrosome amplification, frequently detected in tumor cells. Although the underlying mechanism of this phenomenon remains unknown, identification of multiple centrosome associated Aurora-A substrates implicated in the maturation and separation of centrosomes as well as stabilization of centrosomal microtubules such as, NDEL1, TACC3 and ASAP indicate that deregulated expression of Aurora-A induces chromosome segregation defects and aneuploidy in tumor cells also by causing anomalies in centrosome biogenesis and function. It is, therefore, reasonable to suggest that Aurora kinase inhibitors offer the promise of being developed into effective components of anticancer therapeutic regimens possibly in combination with drugs targeting additional aberrantly expressing cancer associated signaling pathways. In addition to their mitosis specific substrates Aurora kinases, primarily Aurora-A, have also been found to functionally interact with proteins involved in critical cancer associated pathways. A list of these proteins and the functional consequence of their interactions with Aurora kinases is mentioned in Table 1. Aurora-A phosphorylation of the tumor suppressor proteins BRCA1 and p53 have been reported to cause their loss of function making cells resistant to DNA damage and over ride checkpoint response [22], [23], [24]. The BRCA1 associated ring domain protein 1, BARD1, and its cancer cell specific variant isoform BARD1β form complexes with Aurora-B eliciting anti-proliferation and pro-proliferation responses respectively [25]. The findings taken together indicate that Aurora kinase-A and -B antagonize the p53 and BRCA1 functions and thus tumors with elevated expression of the two kinases acquire loss of function phenotypes for these two critical tumor suppressor pathways even in the absence of any inactivating mutation in the respective tumor suppressor proteins.