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Cell Res. 2006 Apr;16(4):356-66.

Overexpression of Aurora-A kinase promotes tumor cell proliferation and inhibits apoptosis in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cell line.

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State Key Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, Cancer Institute, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100021, China.


Aurora-A kinase, a serine/threonine protein kinase, is a potential oncogene. Amplification and overexpression of Aurora-A have been found in several types of human tumors, including esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). It has been demonstrated that cells overexpressing Aurora-A are more resistant to cisplatin-induced apoptosis. However, the molecular mechanisms mediating these effects remain largely unknown. In this report, we showed that overexpression of Aurora-A through stable transfection of pEGFP-Aurora-A in human ESCC KYSE150 cells significantly promoted cell proliferation and inhibited cisplatin- or UV irradiation-induced apoptosis. Cleavages of caspase-3 and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) in Aurora-A overexpressing cells were substantially reduced after cisplatin or UV treatment. Furthermore, we found that silencing of endogenous Aurora-A kinase with siRNA substantially enhanced sensitivity to cisplatin- or UV-induced apoptosis in human ESCC EC9706 cells. In parallel, overexpression of Aurora-A potently upregulated the expression of Bcl-2. Moreover, the knockdown of Bcl-2 by siRNA abrogated the Aurora-A's effect on inhibiting apoptosis. Taken together, these data provide evidence that Aurora-A overexpression promoting cell proliferation and inhibiting apoptosis, suggesting a novel mechanism that is closely related to malignant phenotype and anti-cancer drugs resistance of ESCC cells.

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