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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Dec;1806(2):230-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbcan.2010.08.001. Epub 2010 Aug 12.

The Aurora-A/TPX2 complex: a novel oncogenic holoenzyme?

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Institute of Molecular Biology and Pathology, CNR, c/o Sapienza University of Rome, Via degli Apuli 4, 00185 Rome, Italy.


The Aurora-A kinase regulates cell division by phosphorylating multiple downstream targets in the mitotic apparatus. Aurora-A is frequently overexpressed in tumor cells and it is therefore regarded as a novel candidate target in anti-cancer therapy. Its actual contribution to cell transformation, however, is not entirely clarified; furthermore, its transforming ability has been found to vary broadly depending on the systems and experimental conditions in which it was assayed. This variability suggests that Aurora-A overexpression requires the concomitant deregulation of partner factor(s) to fully elicit its oncogenic potential. Molecular and structural studies indicate that the full activation and correct mitotic localisation of Aurora-A require its interaction with the spindle regulator TPX2. In this review we propose a brief reappraisal of Aurora-A intrinsic oncogenic features. We then present literature screening data indicating that TPX2 is also overexpressed in many tumor types, and, furthermore, that Aurora-A and TPX2 are frequently co-overexpressed. We therefore propose that the association of Aurora-A and TPX2 gives rise to a novel functional unit with oncogenic properties. We also suggest that some of the roles that are conventionally attributed to Aurora-A in cell transformation and tumorigenesis could in fact be a consequence of the oncogenic activation of this unit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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