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Cancer Res. 2010 Nov 15;70(22):9118-28. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-1246. Epub 2010 Nov 2.

The mitotic kinase Aurora-A induces mammary cell migration and breast cancer metastasis by activating the Cofilin-F-actin pathway.

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State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Cancer Center, and Sun Yat-sen Institute of Hematology, Sun Yat-sen University, Department of Radiology, Third Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.


The mitotic kinase Aurora-A (Aur-A) is required to form the bipolar spindle and ensure accurate chromosome segregation before cell division. Aur-A dysregulation represents an oncogenic event that promotes tumor formation. Here, we report that Aur-A promotes breast cancer metastasis. Aur-A overexpression enhanced mammary cell migration by dephosphorylation and activation of cofilin, which facilitates actin reorganization and polymerization. Cofilin knockdown impaired Aur-A-driven cell migration and protrusion of the cell membrane. Conversely, overexpression of activated cofilin abrogated the effects of Aur-A knockdown on cell migration. Moreover, Aur-A overexpession increased the expression of the cofilin phosphatase Slingshot-1 (SSH1), contributing to cofilin activation and cell migration. We found that phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibition blocked Aur-A-induced cofilin dephosphorylation, actin reorganization, and cell migration, suggesting crosstalk with PI3K signaling and a potential benefit of PI3K inhibition in tumors with deregulated Aur-A. Additionally, we found an association between Aur-A overexpression and cofilin activity in breast cancer tissues. Our findings indicate that activation of the cofilin-F-actin pathway contributes to tumor cell migration and metastasis enhanced by Aur-A, revealing a novel function for mitotic Aur-A kinase in tumor progression.

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