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Cell. 2007 Jun 29;129(7):1351-63.

HEF1-dependent Aurora A activation induces disassembly of the primary cilium.

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  • 1Division of Basic Science, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.


The mammalian cilium protrudes from the apical/lumenal surface of polarized cells and acts as a sensor of environmental cues. Numerous developmental disorders and pathological conditions have been shown to arise from defects in cilia-associated signaling proteins. Despite mounting evidence that cilia are essential sites for coordination of cell signaling, little is known about the cellular mechanisms controlling their formation and disassembly. Here, we show that interactions between the prometastatic scaffolding protein HEF1/Cas-L/NEDD9 and the oncogenic Aurora A (AurA) kinase at the basal body of cilia causes phosphorylation and activation of HDAC6, a tubulin deacetylase, promoting ciliary disassembly. We show that this pathway is both necessary and sufficient for ciliary resorption and that it constitutes an unexpected nonmitotic activity of AurA in vertebrates. Moreover, we demonstrate that small molecule inhibitors of AurA and HDAC6 selectively stabilize cilia from regulated resorption cues, suggesting a novel mode of action for these clinical agents.

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