Gene Summary

Gene:AURKA; aurora kinase A
Aliases: AIK, ARK1, AURA, BTAK, STK6, STK7, STK15, PPP1R47
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a cell cycle-regulated kinase that appears to be involved in microtubule formation and/or stabilization at the spindle pole during chromosome segregation. The encoded protein is found at the centrosome in interphase cells and at the spindle poles in mitosis. This gene may play a role in tumor development and progression. A processed pseudogene of this gene has been found on chromosome 1, and an unprocessed pseudogene has been found on chromosome 10. Multiple transcript variants encoding the same protein have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:aurora kinase A
Source:NCBIAccessed: 29 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 29 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 29 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (7)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: AURKA (cancer-related)

Zhong X, Huang G, Ma Q, et al.
Identification of crucial miRNAs and genes in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma by miRNA-mRNA integrated analysis.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2019; 98(27):e16269 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is a malignancy that severely threatens human health and carries a high incidence rate and a low 5-year survival rate. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are commonly accepted as a key regulatory function in human cancer, but the potential regulatory mechanisms of miRNA-mRNA related to ESCC remain poorly understood.The GSE55857, GSE43732, and GSE6188 miRNA microarray datasets and the gene expression microarray datasets GSE70409, GSE29001, and GSE20347 were downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus databases. The differentially expressed miRNAs (DEMs) and differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were obtained using GEO2R. Gene ontology (GO) and the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis for DEGs were performed by Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery (DAVID). A protein-protein interaction (PPI) network and functional modules were established using the STRING database and were visualized by Cytoscape. Kaplan-Meier analysis was constructed based on The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database.In total, 26 DEMs and 280 DEGs that consisted of 96 upregulated and 184 downregulated genes were screened out. A functional enrichment analysis showed that the DEGs were mainly enriched in the ECM-receptor interaction and cytochrome P450 metabolic pathways. In addition, MMP9, PCNA, TOP2A, MMP1, AURKA, MCM2, IVL, CYP2E1, SPRR3, FOS, FLG, TGM1, and CYP2C9 were considered to be hub genes owing to high degrees in the PPI network. MiR-183-5p was with the highest connectivity target genes in hub genes. FOS was predicted to be a common target gene of the significant DEMs. Hsa-miR-9-3p, hsa-miR-34c-3p and FOS were related to patient prognosis and higher expression of the transcripts were associated with a poor OS in patients with ESCC.Our study revealed the miRNA-mediated hub genes regulatory network as a model for predicting the molecular mechanism of ESCC. This may provide novel insights for unraveling the pathogenesis of ESCC.

Henrik Heiland D, Ravi VM, Behringer SP, et al.
Tumor-associated reactive astrocytes aid the evolution of immunosuppressive environment in glioblastoma.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):2541 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Reactive astrocytes evolve after brain injury, inflammatory and degenerative diseases, whereby they undergo transcriptomic re-programming. In malignant brain tumors, their function and crosstalk to other components of the environment is poorly understood. Here we report a distinct transcriptional phenotype of reactive astrocytes from glioblastoma linked to JAK/STAT pathway activation. Subsequently, we investigate the origin of astrocytic transformation by a microglia loss-of-function model in a human organotypic slice model with injected tumor cells. RNA-seq based gene expression analysis of astrocytes reveals a distinct astrocytic phenotype caused by the coexistence of microglia and astrocytes in the tumor environment, which leads to a large release of anti-inflammatory cytokines such as TGFβ, IL10 and G-CSF. Inhibition of the JAK/STAT pathway shifts the balance of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines towards a pro-inflammatory environment. The complex interaction of astrocytes and microglia cells promotes an immunosuppressive environment, suggesting that tumor-associated astrocytes contribute to anti-inflammatory responses.

Liu X, Zhang Y, Hao Y, et al.
Tuberous sclerosis complex presenting as convulsive status epilepticus followed by hypoxic cerebropathy: A case report.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2019; 98(19):e15545 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
RATIONALE: Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a relatively rare, autosomal dominant, and progressive neurocutaneous disorder involving multiple organs. Heterozygous mutations in the TSC1 gene located on chromosome 9 (9q34.13) or the TSC2 gene located on chromosome 16 (16p13.3) have been shown to be responsible for this disorder. The most common clinical manifestations are abnormalities of the skin, brain, kidney, heart, and lungs. Although all seizure types have been observed in TSC patients, the present case is the first in the literature to present with convulsive status epilepticus followed by hypoxic cerebropathy.
PATIENT CONCERNS: A 33-month-old girl presented with fever and seizure followed by unconsciousness for 6 hours. Physical examination showed 4 hypopigmented macules with diameters exceeding 5 mm. Initial magnetic resonance imaging of the brain revealed diffuse edema in the bilateral cerebral cortex, cortical tubers, and subependymal nodules. Video electroencephalography showed no epileptiform activity, but diffuse slow waves intermixed with small fast waves were seen for all leads. Computed tomography brain scanning revealed bilateral cortex edema and calcified subependymal nodules.
DIAGNOSIS: Combined with her clinical presentation, the patient was diagnosed with TSC after molecular analysis revealed she had inherited the TSC2 c.1832G>A (p.R611Q) mutation from her mother.
INTERVENTIONS: The patient received anti-infection therapy, mannitol dehydration, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, and topiramate.
OUTCOMES: One month later, the patient was in a decorticate state, presenting with unconsciousness and bilateral arm flexion and leg extension. At 6 weeks, repeated electroencephalography was normal.
LESSONS: In addition to the present case report, rare studies have reported cases of TSC presenting as convulsive status epileticus followed by hypoxic cerebropathy, which may be strongly associated with a poor prognosis. Patients with the characteristic skin lesions and epilepsy should be carefully evaluated for the possible diagnosis of TSC.

Heo SK, Noh EK, Jeong YK, et al.
Radotinib inhibits mitosis entry in acute myeloid leukemia cells via suppression of Aurora kinase A expression.
Tumour Biol. 2019; 41(5):1010428319848612 [PubMed] Related Publications
Aurora kinases play critical roles in regulating several processes pivotal for mitosis. Radotinib, which is approved in South Korea as a second-line treatment for chronic myeloid leukemia, inhibits the tyrosine kinase BCR-ABL and platelet-derived growth factor receptor. However, the effects of radotinib on Aurora kinase expression in acute myeloid leukemia are not well studied. Interestingly, the cytotoxicity of acute myeloid leukemia cells was increased by radotinib treatment. Radotinib significantly decreased the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase 1 and cyclin B1, the key regulators of G2/M phase, and inhibited the expression of Aurora kinase A and Aurora kinase B in acute myeloid leukemia cells. In addition, radotinib decreased the expression and binding between p-Aurora kinase A and TPX2, which are required for spindle assembly. Furthermore, it reduced Aurora kinase A and polo-like kinase 1 phosphorylation and suppressed the expression of α-, β-, and γ-tubulin in acute myeloid leukemia cells. Furthermore, radotinib significantly suppressed the key regulators of G2/M phase including cyclin B1 and Aurora kinase A in a xenograft animal model. Therefore, our results suggest that radotinib can abrogate acute myeloid leukemia cell growth both in vitro and in vivo and may serve as a candidate agent or a chemosensitizer for treating acute myeloid leukemia.

Sun LJ, Dong J, Gao F, et al.
Intracranial solitary fibrous tumor: Report of two cases.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2019; 98(17):e15327 [PubMed] Related Publications
RATIONALE: Intracranial solitary fibrous tumor (ISFT) is a rare spindle cell tumor derived from dendritic mesenchymal cells expressing CD34 antigens, which are widely distributed in human connective tissues.
PATIENT CONCERNS: In two case reports, we describe a 61-year-old woman and a 42-year-old man who present with intracranial malignant SFTs. Computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging of head revealed that the largest size is about 3.3 × 3.0 cm in left occipital part and 4.0 × 3.0 cm in right skull base.
DIAGNOSIS: Postoperative pathological results demonstrated that all of two cases are SFT. Case one: Immunohistochemical examination demonstrated a strong immunoreaction for cluster of differentiation (CD)34, B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) and Vimentin (Vim). Case two: The tumor was distinctively positive for Bcl-2, but not for CD34 and Vim.
INTERVENTIONS: One of the two patients recurred 6 years after the first tumor resection. After the recurrence, two gamma knife treatments were given, and another operation was performed about five years later. In one case, only tumor resection was performed.
OUTCOMES: Case one: The postoperative neurological status was substantially improved and regular follow-up examinations for 6 months postsurgery have shown that the patient is currently disease-free. Case two: The patient achieved a good outcome, with no epilepsy or other neurological symptoms experienced on a regular 6-month follow-up. The patient is currently disease free.
LESSONS: Imaging findings can be used to assist the diagnosis. The diagnostic method is pathology, and total surgical resection is the most effective treatment. The main treatment methods were total resection, supplemented by radiotherapy and chemotherapy if necessary.

Soria-Castro R, Schcolnik-Cabrera A, Rodríguez-López G, et al.
Exploring the Drug Repurposing Versatility of Valproic Acid as a Multifunctional Regulator of Innate and Adaptive Immune Cells.
J Immunol Res. 2019; 2019:9678098 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Valproic acid (VPA) is widely recognized for its use in the control of epilepsy and other neurological disorders in the past 50 years. Recent evidence has shown the potential of VPA in the control of certain cancers, owed in part to its role in modulating epigenetic changes through the inhibition of histone deacetylases, affecting the expression of genes involved in the cell cycle, differentiation, and apoptosis. The direct impact of VPA in cells of the immune system has only been explored recently. In this review, we discuss the effects of VPA in the suppression of some activation mechanisms in several immune cells that lead to an anti-inflammatory response. As expected, immune cells are not exempt from the effect of VPA, as it also affects the expression of genes of the cell cycle and apoptosis through epigenetic modifications. In addition to inhibiting histone deacetylases, VPA promotes RNA interference, activates histone methyltransferases, or represses the activation of transcription factors. However, during the infectious process, the effectiveness of VPA is subject to the biological nature of the pathogen and the associated immune response; this is because VPA can promote the control or the progression of the infection. Due to its various effects, VPA is a promising alternative for the control of autoimmune diseases and hypersensitivity and needs to be further explored.

Li Y, Tran Q, Shrestha R, et al.
LETM1 is required for mitochondrial homeostasis and cellular viability (Review).
Mol Med Rep. 2019; 19(5):3367-3375 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Leucine zipper/EF‑hand‑containing transmembrane protein 1 (LETM1) has been identified as the gene responsible for Wolf‑Hirschhorn syndrome (WHS), which is characterized by intellectual disability, epilepsy, growth delay and craniofacial dysgenesis. LETM1 is a mitochondrial inner membrane protein that encodes a homolog of the yeast protein Mdm38, which is involved in mitochondrial morphology. In the present review, the importance of LETM1 in WHS and its role within the mitochondrion was explored. LETM1 governs the mitochondrion ion channel and is involved in mitochondrial respiration. Recent studies have reported that LETM1 acts as a mitochondrial Ca2+/H+ antiporter. LETM1 has also been identified as a K+/H+ exchanger, and serves a role in Mg2+ homeostasis. The function of LETM1 in mitochondria regulation is regulated by its binding partners, carboxyl‑terminal modulator protein and mitochondrial ribosomal protein L36. Therefore, we describe the remarkable role of LETM1 in mitochondrial network physiology and its function in mitochondrion‑mediated cell death. In the context of these findings, we suggest that the participation of LETM1 in tumorigenesis through the alteration of cancer metabolism should be investigated. This review provides a comprehensive description of LETM1 function, which is required for mitochondrial homeostasis and cellular viability.

Zhang Y, Li J, Yi K, et al.
Elevated signature of a gene module coexpressed with CDC20 marks genomic instability in glioma.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019; 116(14):6975-6984 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/09/2019 Related Publications
Genomic instability (GI) drives tumor heterogeneity and promotes tumor progression and therapy resistance. However, causative factors underlying GI and means for clinical detection of GI in glioma are inadequately identified. We describe here that elevated expression of a gene module coexpressed with CDC20 (CDC20-M), the activator of the anaphase-promoting complex in the cell cycle, marks GI in glioma. The CDC20-M, containing 139 members involved in cell proliferation, DNA damage response, and chromosome segregation, was found to be consistently coexpressed in glioma transcriptomes. The coexpression of these genes was conserved across multiple species and organ systems, particularly in human neural stem and progenitor cells. CDC20-M expression was not correlated with the morphological subtypes, nor with the recently defined molecular subtypes of glioma. CDC20-M signature was an independent and robust predictor for poorer prognosis in over 1,000 patients from four large databases. Elevated CDC20-M signature enabled the identification of individual glioma samples with severe chromosome instability and mutation burden and of primary glioma cell lines with extensive mitotic errors leading to chromosome mis-segregation. AURKA, a core member of CDC20-M, was amplified in one-third of CDC20-M-high gliomas with gene-dosage-dependent expression. MLN8237, a Food and Drug Administration-approved AURKA inhibitor, selectively killed temozolomide-resistant primary glioma cells in vitro and prolonged the survival of a patient-derived xenograft mouse model with a high-CDC20-M signature. Our findings suggest that application of the CDC20-M signature may permit more selective use of adjuvant therapies for glioma patients and that dysregulated CDC20-M members may provide a therapeutic vulnerability in glioma.

Kim J, Kim D, Lim JS, et al.
The use of technical replication for detection of low-level somatic mutations in next-generation sequencing.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):1047 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/09/2019 Related Publications
Accurate genome-wide detection of somatic mutations with low variant allele frequency (VAF, <1%) has proven difficult, for which generalized, scalable methods are lacking. Herein, we describe a new computational method, called RePlow, that we developed to detect low-VAF somatic mutations based on simple, library-level replicates for next-generation sequencing on any platform. Through joint analysis of replicates, RePlow is able to remove prevailing background errors in next-generation sequencing analysis, facilitating remarkable improvement in the detection accuracy for low-VAF somatic mutations (up to ~99% reduction in false positives). The method is validated in independent cancer panel and brain tissue sequencing data. Our study suggests a new paradigm with which to exploit an overwhelming abundance of sequencing data for accurate variant detection.

Wu M, Liu Z, Zhang A, Li N
Identification of key genes and pathways in hepatocellular carcinoma: A preliminary bioinformatics analysis.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2019; 98(5):e14287 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/09/2019 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is one of the most prevalent cancers worldwide. However, the precise mechanisms of the development and progression of HCC remain unclear. The present study attempted to identify and functionally analyze the differentially expressed genes between HCC and cirrhotic tissues by using comprehensive bioinformatics analyses.
METHODS: The GSE63898 gene expression profile was downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) and analyzed using the online tool GEO2R to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Gene ontology (GO) functional analysis and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment analysis of the DEGs were performed in DAVID. The STRING database was used to evaluate the interactions of DEGs and to construct a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network using Cytoscape software. Hub genes were selected using the cytoHubba plugin and were validated with the cBioPortal database.
RESULTS: A total of 301 DEGs were identified between HCC and cirrhotic tissues. The GO analysis results showed that these DEGs were significantly enriched in certain biological processes including negative regulation of growth and cell chemotaxis. Several significant pathways, including the p53 signaling pathway, were identified as being closely associated with these DEGs. The top 12 hub genes were screened and included TTK, NCAPG, TOP2A, CCNB1, CDK1, PRC1, RRM2, UBE2C, ZWINT, CDKN3, AURKA, and RACGAP1. The cBioPortal analysis found that alterations in hub genes could result in significantly reduced disease-free survival in HCC.
CONCLUSION: The present study identified a series of key genes and pathways that may be involved in the tumorigenicity and progression of HCC, providing a new understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of carcinogenesis in HCC.

Borchert S, Wessolly M, Schmeller J, et al.
Gene expression profiling of homologous recombination repair pathway indicates susceptibility for olaparib treatment in malignant pleural mesothelioma in vitro.
BMC Cancer. 2019; 19(1):108 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/09/2019 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a tumour arising from pleural cavities with poor prognosis. Multimodality treatment with pemetrexed combined with cisplatin shows unsatisfying response-rates of 40%. The reasons for the rather poor efficacy of chemotherapeutic treatment are largely unknown. However, it is conceivable that DNA repair mechanisms lead to an impaired therapy response. We hypothesize a major role of homologous recombination (HR) for genome stability and survival of this tumour. Therefore, we analysed genes compiled under the term "BRCAness". An inhibition of this pathway with olaparib might abrogate this effect and induce apoptosis.
METHODS: We investigated the response of three MPM cell lines and lung fibroblasts serving as a control to treatment with pemetrexed, cisplatin and olaparib. Furthermore, we aimed to find possible correlations between response and gene expression patterns associated with BRCAness phenotype. Therefore, 91 clinical MPM samples were digitally screened for gene expression patterns of HR members.
RESULTS: A BRCAness-dependent increase of apoptosis and senescence during olaparib-based treatment of BRCA-associated-protein 1 (BAP1)-mutated cell lines was observed. The gene expression pattern identified could be found in approx. 10% of patient samples. Against this background, patients could be grouped according to their defects in the HR system. Gene expression levels of Aurora Kinase A (AURKA), RAD50 as well as DNA damage-binding protein 2 (DDB2) could be identified as prognostic markers in MPM.
CONCLUSIONS: Defects in HR compiled under the term BRCAness are a common event in MPM. The present data can lead to a better understanding of the underlaying cellular mechanisms and leave the door wide open for new therapeutic approaches for this severe disease with infaust prognosis. Response to Poly (ADP-ribose)-Polymerase (PARP)-Inhibition could be demonstrated in the BAP1-mutated NCI-H2452 cells, especially when combined with cisplatin. Thus, this combination therapy might be effective for up to 2/3 of patients, promising to enhance patients' clinical management and outcome.

Mohanta S, Sekhar Khora S, Suresh A
Cancer Stem Cell based molecular predictors of tumor recurrence in Oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Arch Oral Biol. 2019; 99:92-106 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to identify the cancer stem cell specific biomarkers that can be effective candidate prognosticators of oral squamous cell carcinoma.
DESIGN: Microarray-based meta-analysis derived transcriptional profile of head and neck cancers was compared with the Cancer Stem Cell database to arrive at a subset of markers. This subset was further co-related with clinico-pathological parameters, recurrence and survival of oral cancer patients (n = 313) in The Cancer Genome Atlas database and in oral cancer (n = 28) patients.
RESULTS: Meta-analysis in combination with database comparison identified a panel of 221 genes specific to head and neck cancers. Correlation of expression levels of these markers in the oral cancer cohort of The Cancer Genome Atlas (n = 313) with treatment outcome identified 54 genes (p < 0.05 or fold change >2) associated with disease recurrence, 8 genes (NQO1, UBE2C, EDNRB, FKBP4, STAT3, HOXA1, RIT1, AURKA) being significant with high fold change. Assessment of the efficacy of the subset (n = 54) as survival predictors identified an additional 4 genes (CDK1, GINS2, PHF5 A, ERBB2) that co-related with poor disease-free survival (p < 0.05). CDK1 showed a significant association with the clinical stage, margin status and with advanced pathological parameters. Initial patient validation indicated that CDK1 and NQO1 significantly co-related with the poor disease-free and overall survival (p < 0.05).
CONCLUSION: This panel of oral cancer specific, cancer stem cell associated markers identified in this study, a subset of which was validated, will be of clinical benefit subject to large scale validation studies.

Oliver GR, Blackburn PR, Ellingson MS, et al.
RNA-Seq detects a SAMD12-EXT1 fusion transcript and leads to the discovery of an EXT1 deletion in a child with multiple osteochondromas.
Mol Genet Genomic Med. 2019; 7(3):e00560 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/09/2019 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: We describe a patient presenting with pachygyria, epilepsy, developmental delay, short stature, failure to thrive, facial dysmorphisms, and multiple osteochondromas.
METHODS: The patient underwent extensive genetic testing and analysis in an attempt to diagnose the cause of his condition. Clinical testing included metaphase karyotyping, array comparative genomic hybridization, direct sequencing and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification and trio-based exome sequencing. Subsequently, research-based whole transcriptome sequencing was conducted to determine whether it might shed light on the undiagnosed phenotype.
RESULTS: Clinical exome sequencing of patient and parent samples revealed a maternally inherited splice-site variant in the doublecortin (DCX) gene that was classified as likely pathogenic and diagnostic of the patient's neurological phenotype. Clinical array comparative genome hybridization analysis revealed a 16p13.3 deletion that could not be linked to the patient phenotype based on affected genes. Further clinical testing to determine the cause of the patient's multiple osteochondromas was unrevealing despite extensive profiling of the most likely causative genes, EXT1 and EXT2, including mutation screening by direct sequence analysis and multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification. Whole transcriptome sequencing identified a SAMD12-EXT1 fusion transcript that could have resulted from a chromosomal deletion, leading to the loss of EXT1 function. Re-review of the clinical array comparative genomic hybridization results indicated a possible unreported mosaic deletion affecting the SAMD12 and EXT1 genes that corresponded precisely to the introns predicted to be affected by a fusion-causing deletion. The existence of the mosaic deletion was subsequently confirmed clinically by an increased density copy number array and orthogonal methodologies CONCLUSIONS: While mosaic mutations and deletions of EXT1 and EXT2 have been reported in the context of multiple osteochondromas, to our knowledge, this is the first time that transcriptomics technologies have been used to diagnose a patient via fusion transcript analysis in the congenital disease setting.

Zhang MY, Liu XX, Li H, et al.
Elevated mRNA Levels of AURKA, CDC20 and TPX2 are associated with poor prognosis of smoking related lung adenocarcinoma using bioinformatics analysis.
Int J Med Sci. 2018; 15(14):1676-1685 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/09/2019 Related Publications

Guo M, Lu S, Huang H, et al.
Increased AURKA promotes cell proliferation and predicts poor prognosis in bladder cancer.
BMC Syst Biol. 2018; 12(Suppl 7):118 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 15/09/2019 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Bladder cancer (BC) is the most common cancer of the urinary bladder and upper tract, in which the clinical management is limited. AURKA (aurora kinase A) has been identified as an oncogene in cancer development; however, its potential role and underlying mechanisms in the progression of BC remain unknown.
RESULTS: In this study, we evaluated Aurora kinase A (AURKA) expression in patient samples by performing gene expression profiling, and found that AURKA expression levels were significantly higher in BC tissues than in normal tissues. Increased AURKA in BC was strongly associated with stage and grade. Moreover, BC patients with elevated AURKA achieved poor overall survival rates. The experiments in vitro comprehensively validated the critical role of AURKA in promoting BC cell proliferation using the methods of gene overexpression and gene silencing. Furthermore, we proved that AURKA inhibitor MLN8237 arrested BC cell growth and induced apoptosis.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings implicate AURKA acting as an effective biomarker for BC detection and prognosis, as well as therapeutic target.

Hamanaka K, Sugawara Y, Shimoji T, et al.
De novo truncating variants in PHF21A cause intellectual disability and craniofacial anomalies.
Eur J Hum Genet. 2019; 27(3):378-383 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Potocki-Shaffer syndrome (PSS) is a contiguous gene syndrome caused by 11p11.2 deletions. PSS is clinically characterized by intellectual disability, craniofacial anomalies, enlarged parietal foramina, and multiple exostoses. PSS occasionally shows autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, and overgrowth. Some of the clinical features are thought to be associated with haploinsufficiency of two genes in the 11p11.2 region; variants affecting the function of ALX4 cause enlarged parietal foramina and EXT2 lead to multiple exostoses. However, the remaining clinical features were still yet to be linked to specific genetic alterations. In this study, we identified de novo truncating variants in an 11p11.2 gene, PHF21A, in three cases with intellectual disability and craniofacial anomalies. Among these three cases, autism spectrum disorder was recognized in one case, epilepsy in one case, and overgrowth in two cases. This study shows that PHF21A haploinsufficiency results in intellectual disability and craniofacial anomalies and possibly contributes to susceptibility to autism spectrum disorder, epilepsy, and overgrowth, all of which are PSS features.

Dawei H, Honggang D, Qian W
AURKA contributes to the progression of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) through modulating epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and apoptosis via the regulation of ROS.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2018; 507(1-4):83-90 [PubMed] Related Publications
Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is known as one of the most common cancer influencing the head and neck region. However, the molecular mechanisms revealing OSCC progression is largely unclear. Aurora kinase A (AURKA) is a serine-threonine kinase that functions in mitotic spindle formation and chromosome segregation, and is associated with the progression of human cancers. But its role in regulating OSCC development has not yet been investigated. In the study, we found that AURKA expression was up-regulated in OSCC cell lines and tumor specimens from patients. OSCC patients with high expression of AURKA exhibited a significant decreased overall survival rate. In vitro, AURKA knockdown markedly reduced the proliferation, migration and invasion of OSCC cells using cell counting kit-8 (CCK-8), EdU, colony formation and transwell analysis. EMT was suppressed by AURKA silence, as evidenced by the up-regulated expression of E-cadherin and down-regulated Vimentin in OSCC cells. In addition, apoptosis was markedly induced by AURKA inhibition through promoting the expression of cleaved Caspase-3 and poly (ADP)-ribose polymerase (PARP). Reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was also markedly enhanced in AURKA-knockdown OSCC cells. Importantly, we found that repressing ROS generation using its scavenger of n-acetylcysteine (NAC) significantly abolished AURKA silence-induced apoptosis, accompanied with restored proliferation and EMT. In vivo, AURKA knockdown notably inhibited tumor growth. Therefore, knockdown of AURKA suppressed cell proliferation, migration and invasion, and also induced apoptosis and ROS generation in OSCC possibly via the production of ROS, demonstrating that AURKA inhibition might represent a novel therapeutic target for the prevention of OSCC.

Jones RA, Franks SE, Moorehead RA
Comparative mRNA and miRNA transcriptome analysis of a mouse model of IGFIR-driven lung cancer.
PLoS One. 2018; 13(11):e0206948 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2020 Related Publications
Mouse models of cancer play an important role in elucidating the molecular mechanisms that contribute to tumorigenesis. The extent to which these models resemble one another and their human counterparts at the molecular level is critical in understanding tumorigenesis. In this study, we carried out a comparative gene expression analysis to generate a detailed molecular portrait of a transgenic mouse model of IGFIR-driven lung cancer. IGFIR-driven tumors displayed a strong resemblance with established mouse models of lung adenocarcinoma, particularly EGFR-driven models highlighted by elevated levels of the EGFR ligands Ereg and Areg. Cross-species analysis revealed a shared increase in human lung adenocarcinoma markers including Nkx2.1 and Napsa as well as alterations in a subset of genes with oncogenic and tumor suppressive properties such as Aurka, Ret, Klf4 and Lats2. Integrated miRNA and mRNA analysis in IGFIR-driven tumors identified interaction pairs with roles in ErbB signaling while cross-species analysis revealed coordinated expression of a subset of conserved miRNAs and their targets including miR-21-5p (Reck, Timp3 and Tgfbr3). Overall, these findings support the use of SPC-IGFIR mice as a model of human lung adenocarcinoma and provide a comprehensive knowledge base to dissect the molecular pathogenesis of tumor initiation and progression.

Wang-Bishop L, Chen Z, Gomaa A, et al.
Inhibition of AURKA Reduces Proliferation and Survival of Gastrointestinal Cancer Cells With Activated KRAS by Preventing Activation of RPS6KB1.
Gastroenterology. 2019; 156(3):662-675.e7 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/02/2020 Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Activation of KRAS signaling and overexpression of the aurora kinase A (AURKA) are often detected in luminal gastrointestinal cancers. We investigated regulation of ribosomal protein S6 kinase B1 (RPS6KB1) by AURKA and the effects of alisertib, an AURKA inhibitor, in mice xenograft tumors grown from human gastrointestinal cancer cells with mutant, activated forms of KRAS.
METHODS: We tested the effects of alisertib or AURKA overexpression or knockdown in 10 upper gastrointestinal or colon cancer cell lines with KRAS mutations or amplifications using the CellTiter-Glo luminescence and clonogenic cell survival assays. We used the proximity ligation in situ assay to evaluate protein co-localization and immunoprecipitation to study protein interactions. Nude mice with xenograft tumors grown from HCT116, SNU-601, SW480, or SNU-1 cells were given oral alisertib (40 mg/kg, 5 times/wk) for 4 weeks. Tumor samples were collected and analyzed by immunoblots and immunohistochemistry. Tissue microarrays from 151 paraffin-embedded human colon tumors, with adjacent normal and adenoma tissues, were analyzed by immunohistochemistry for levels of AURKA.
RESULTS: Alisertib reduced proliferation and survival of the cell lines tested. AURKA knockdown or inhibition with alisertib reduced levels of phosphorylated RPS6KB1 (at T389) and increased levels of proteins that induce apoptosis, including BIM, cleaved PARP, and cleaved caspase 3. AURKA co-localized and interacted with RPS6KB1, mediating RPS6KB1 phosphorylation at T389. We detected AURKA-dependent phosphorylation of RPS6KB1 in cell lines with mutations in KRAS but not in cells with wild-type KRAS. Administration of alisertib to mice with xenograft tumors significantly reduced tumor volumes (P < .001). Alisertib reduced phosphorylation of RPS6KB1 and Ki-67 and increased levels of cleaved caspase 3 in tumor tissues. In analyses of tissue microarrays, we found significant overexpression of AURKA in gastrointestinal tumor tissues compared with non-tumor tissues (P = .0003).
CONCLUSION: In studies of gastrointestinal cancer cell lines with activated KRAS, we found AURKA to phosphorylate RPS6KB1, promoting cell proliferation and survival and growth of xenograft tumors in mice. Agents that inhibit AURKA might slow the growth of gastrointestinal tumors with activation of KRAS.

Mencarelli A, Prontera P, Mencarelli A, et al.
Expanding the Clinical Spectrum of Sotos Syndrome in a Patient with the New "c.[5867T>A]+[=]"; "p.[Leu1956Gln]+[=]"
Int J Mol Sci. 2018; 19(10) [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/02/2020 Related Publications
Sotos syndrome is one of the most common overgrowth diseases and it predisposes patients to cancer, generally in childhood. The prevalence of this genetic disorder is 1:10,000⁻1:50,000, and it is characterized by wide allelic heterogeneity, with more than 100 different known mutations in the nuclear receptor-binding SET domain containing protein 1 (

Dragoumi P, O'Callaghan F, Zafeiriou DI
Diagnosis of tuberous sclerosis complex in the fetus.
Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2018; 22(6):1027-1034 [PubMed] Related Publications
Tuberous sclerosis complex is a dominantly inherited genetic disorder of striking clinical variability. It is caused by mutations in either TSC1 or TSC2 gene, which regulate cell growth and proliferation by inhibition of mTORC1 signaling. TS is characterized by the development of benign tumors in many tissues and organs and its neurological manifestations include epilepsy, autism, cognitive and behavioral dysfunction, and giant cell tumors. With mechanism-based mTOR inhibitors therapy now available for many of its manifestations, early diagnosis of TSC is very important in order to offer appropriate care, long-term surveillance and parental counseling. Fetal ultrasound and MRI imaging techniques have evolved and may capture even earlier the following TSC-associated lesions: cardiac rhabdomyomas, subependymal nodules, cortical tubers and renal cysts. Often these represent an incidental finding during a routine ultrasound. Furthermore, in the past decades prenatal molecular diagnosis of TSC has emerged as an important option for families with a known affected member; however, the existing evidence with regards to the clinical characteristics and long-term outcome of babies diagnosed prenatally with TSC is yet limited and the path that follows early TSC detection merits further research.

Orenay-Boyacioglu S, Kasap E, Gerceker E, et al.
Expression profiles of histone modification genes in gastric cancer progression.
Mol Biol Rep. 2018; 45(6):2275-2282 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gastric cancer (GC) development can be attributed to several risk factors including atrophic gastritis (AG), intestinal metaplasia (IM), and the presence of Helicobacter pylori (HP). Also, histone modification is an epigenetic mechanism that plays a pivotal role in GC carcinogenesis. In this preliminary study, we aimed to describe the expression profiles of histone modification in the AG, IM, and GC patient groups. A total of 80 patients with AG (n = 27), IM (n = 25), and GC (n = 28) with an additional 20 control subjects were included in the study. Expression profiles of three histone phosphorylation genes (PAK1, NEK6, and AURKA) and five histone deacetylation genes (HDACs 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7) were examined based on the results of Real Time qPCR method. It was observed that AURKA and HDAC2 genes were significantly overexpressed in all groups compared to the control (P < 0.05). In GC patients, overexpression of HDAC2 gene was detected in the absence of metastasis, and overexpression of AURKA, HDAC2, and NEK6 genes was detected in the presence of metastasis. When cancer involvements were compared, significant overexpression of the HDAC2 gene was noted in overall and corpus involvements (P < 0.05). In addition, overexpression of AURKA, NEK6, HDAC1, and HDAC2 genes and underexpression of HDAC5 gene were detected in the antrum involvement (P < 0.05). In conclusion, decreased expression of HDAC5 in GC is reported for the first time in this study, while supporting the existing literature in AURKA, NEK6, HDAC1, and HDAC2 up regulations during GC development.

Hu S, Liao Y, Chen L
Identification of Key Pathways and Genes in Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma via Integrated Bioinformatics Analysis.
Med Sci Monit. 2018; 24:6438-6448 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/02/2020 Related Publications
BACKGROUND To provide a better understanding of anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) at the molecular level, this study aimed to identify the genes and key pathways associated with ATC by using integrated bioinformatics analysis. MATERIAL AND METHODS Based on the microarray data GSE9115, GSE65144, and GSE53072 derived from the Gene Expression Omnibus, the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between ATC samples and normal controls were identified. With DEGs, we performed a series of functional enrichment analyses. Then, a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network was constructed and visualized, with which the hub gene nodes were screened out. Finally, modules analysis for the PPI network was performed to further investigate the potential relationships between DEGs and ATC. RESULTS A total of 537 common DEGs were screened out from all 3 datasets, among which 247 genes were upregulated and 275 genes were downregulated. GO analysis indicated that upregulated DEGs were mainly involved in cell division and mitotic nuclear division and the downregulated DEGs were significantly enriched in ventricular cardiac muscle cell action potential. KEGG pathway analysis showed that the upregulated DEGs were mainly enriched in cell cycle and ECM-receptor interaction and the downregulated DEGs were mainly enriched in thyroid hormone synthesis, insulin resistance, and pathways in cancer. The top 10 hub genes in the constructed PPI network were CDK1, CCNB1, TOP2A, AURKB, CCNA2, BUB1, AURKA, CDC20, MAD2L1, and BUB1B. The modules analysis showed that genes in the top 2 significant modules of PPI network were mainly associated with mitotic cell cycle and positive regulation of mitosis, respectively. CONCLUSIONS We identified a series of key genes along with the pathways that were most closely related with ATC initiation and progression. Our results provide a more detailed molecular mechanism for the development of ATC, shedding light on the potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets.

Li T, Chen Y, Zhang J, Liu S
LncRNA TUG1 promotes cells proliferation and inhibits cells apoptosis through regulating AURKA in epithelial ovarian cancer cells.
Medicine (Baltimore). 2018; 97(36):e12131 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/02/2020 Related Publications
This study aimed to assess the effect of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) taurine-upregulated gene 1 (TUG1) on cells proliferation and apoptosis as well as its targeting genes in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) cells.Blank mimic, lncRNA TUG1 mimic, blank inhibitor, and lncRNA TUG1 inhibitor plasmids were transfected into SK-OV-3 (SKOV3) cells. Rescue experiment was performed by the transfection of lncRNA TUG1 inhibitor and Aurora kinase A (AURKA) mimic plasmids into SKOV3 cells. Cell counting kit-8 (CKK-8), annexin V-FITC (AV)-propidium iodide (PI) (AV-PI), quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and western blot assays were performed to detect cells proliferation, apoptosis, RNA expression, and protein expression respectively.Cells proliferation was increased in lncRNA TUG1 mimic group and decreased in lncRNA TUG1 inhibitor group than normal control (NC) groups. Cells apoptosis rate was repressed after treatment with lncRNA TUG1 mimic and promoted after treatment with lncRNA TUG1 inhibitor. AURKA expression but not CLDN3, SERPINE1, or ETS1 expression was adversely regulated by lncRNA TUG1 mimic and inhibitor. After transferring lncRNA TUG1 (-) and AURKA (+) plasmids, cells proliferation was increased, while cells apoptosis rate was decreased in AURKA mimic (+)/lncRNA TUG1 inhibitor (-) group than NC (+)/lncRNA TUG1 (-) group, which suggested lncRNA TUG1 regulated cells proliferation and cells apoptosis through targeting AURKA.LncRNA TUG1 promotes cells proliferation and inhibits cells apoptosis through regulating AURKA in EOC cells.

Leontovich AA, Jalalirad M, Salisbury JL, et al.
NOTCH3 expression is linked to breast cancer seeding and distant metastasis.
Breast Cancer Res. 2018; 20(1):105 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/02/2020 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Development of distant metastases involves a complex multistep biological process termed the invasion-metastasis cascade, which includes dissemination of cancer cells from the primary tumor to secondary organs. NOTCH developmental signaling plays a critical role in promoting epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, tumor stemness, and metastasis. Although all four NOTCH receptors show oncogenic properties, the unique role of each of these receptors in the sequential stepwise events that typify the invasion-metastasis cascade remains elusive.
METHODS: We have established metastatic xenografts expressing high endogenous levels of NOTCH3 using estrogen receptor alpha-positive (ERα
RESULTS: In this study, we identified an association between NOTCH3 expression and development of metastases in ERα
CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate the key role of NOTCH3 oncogenic signaling in the genesis of breast cancer metastasis and provide a compelling preclinical rationale for the design of novel therapeutic strategies that will selectively target NOTCH3 to halt metastatic seeding and to improve the clinical outcomes of patients with breast cancer.

van Gijn SE, Wierenga E, van den Tempel N, et al.
TPX2/Aurora kinase A signaling as a potential therapeutic target in genomically unstable cancer cells.
Oncogene. 2019; 38(6):852-867 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/02/2020 Related Publications
Genomic instability is a hallmark feature of cancer cells, and can be caused by defective DNA repair, for instance due to inactivation of BRCA2. Paradoxically, loss of Brca2 in mice results in embryonic lethality, whereas cancer cells can tolerate BRCA2 loss. This holds true for multiple DNA repair genes, and suggests that cancer cells are molecularly "rewired" to cope with defective DNA repair and the resulting high levels of genomic instability. In this study, we aim to identify genes that genomically unstable cancer cells rely on for their survival. Using functional genomic mRNA (FGmRNA) profiling, 16,172 cancer samples were previously ranked based on their degree of genomic instability. We analyzed the top 250 genes that showed a positive correlation between FGmRNA levels and the degree of genomic instability, in a co-functionality network. Within this co-functionality network, a strong cluster of 11 cell cycle-related genes was identified, including TPX2. We then assessed the dependency on these 11 genes in the context of survival of genomically unstable cancer cells, induced by BRCA2 inactivation. Depletion of TPX2 or its associated kinase Aurora-A preferentially reduced cell viability in a panel of BRCA2-deficient cancer cells. In line with these findings, BRCA2-depleted and BRCA2-mutant human cell lines, or tumor cell lines derived from Brca2

Paul D, Dixit A, Srivastava A, et al.
Altered transforming growth factor beta/SMAD3 signalling in patients with hippocampal sclerosis.
Epilepsy Res. 2018; 146:144-150 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) signalling cascade has been implicated in enhancing neuronal excitability and excitatory synaptogenesis following blood brain barrier (BBB) damage and inflammation. We aimed to study if TGFβ signalling expression is altered in patients with Hippocampal Sclerosis (HS). We probed into the protein expression level of the ligand transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1), transforming growth factor beta receptor II (TGFβRII) and downstream signalling molecule SMAD3 and phosphorylated SMAD3 (pSMAD3) on surgically resected hippocampal samples of thirty-four patients with HS through immuno-blotting. The increase in protein expression level of the ligand TGFβ1 was 285 ± 1.15% higher and its receptor TGFβRII was 170 ± 0.98% higher in hippocampus of patients with HS in comparison to the autopsy hippocampal control samples. The expression of the downstream signalling molecules, SMAD3 is 157 ± 0.13% and 106 ± 0.17% higher in patients with HS as compared to both types of non-seizure controls. The expression of active form of SMAD3, pSMAD3 (2.6010 ± 1.2735) was significantly upregulated in hippocampus of patients with HS compared to autopsy hippocampal controls (0.7899 ± 0.3688). While the expression of pSMAD3 (1.527 ± 0.9425) was significantly upregulated in hippocampus of patients with HS with another type of non-seizure control viz. tumour periphery tissue (0.5791 ± 0.2679), hence strongly supporting the altered expression of the pathway. This study provides the first evidence of alteration of TGFβ pathway in patients with HS which could be a potential therapeutic target.

Felgenhauer J, Tomino L, Selich-Anderson J, et al.
Dual BRD4 and AURKA Inhibition Is Synergistic against MYCN-Amplified and Nonamplified Neuroblastoma.
Neoplasia. 2018; 20(10):965-974 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/02/2020 Related Publications
A majority of cases of high-risk neuroblastoma, an embryonal childhood cancer, are driven by MYC or MYCN-driven oncogenic signaling. While considered to be directly "undruggable" therapeutically, MYC and MYCN can be repressed transcriptionally by inhibition of Bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) or destabilized posttranslationally by inhibition of Aurora Kinase A (AURKA). Preclinical and early-phase clinical studies of BRD4 and AURKA inhibitors, however, show limited efficacy against neuroblastoma when used alone. We report our studies on the concomitant use of the BRD4 inhibitor I-BET151 and AURKA inhibitor alisertib. We show that, in vitro, the drugs act synergistically to inhibit viability in four models of high-risk neuroblastoma. We demonstrate that this synergy is driven, in part, by the ability of I-BET151 to mitigate reflexive upregulation of AURKA, MYC, and MYCN in response to AURKA inhibition. We then demonstrate that I-BET151 and alisertib are effective in prolonging survival in four xenograft neuroblastoma models in vivo, and this efficacy is augmented by the addition of the antitubule chemotherapeutic vincristine. These data suggest that epigenetic and posttranslational inhibition of MYC/MYCN-driven pathways may have significant clinical efficacy against neuroblastoma.

Zucco AJ, Pozzo VD, Afinogenova A, et al.
Neural progenitors derived from Tuberous Sclerosis Complex patients exhibit attenuated PI3K/AKT signaling and delayed neuronal differentiation.
Mol Cell Neurosci. 2018; 92:149-163 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) is a disease caused by autosomal dominant mutations in the TSC1 or TSC2 genes, and is characterized by tumor susceptibility, brain lesions, seizures and behavioral impairments. The TSC1 and TSC2 genes encode proteins forming a complex (TSC), which is a major regulator and suppressor of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1), a signaling complex that promotes cell growth and proliferation. TSC1/2 loss of heterozygosity (LOH) and the subsequent complete loss of TSC regulatory activity in null cells causes mTORC1 dysregulation and TSC-associated brain lesions or other tissue tumors. However, it is not clear whether TSC1/2 heterozygous brain cells are abnormal and contribute to TSC neuropathology. To investigate this issue, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from TSC patients and unaffected controls, and utilized these to obtain neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and differentiated neurons in vitro. These patient-derived TSC2 heterozygous NPCs were delayed in their ability to differentiate into neurons. Patient-derived progenitor cells also exhibited a modest activation of mTORC1 signaling downstream of TSC, and a marked attenuation of upstream PI3K/AKT signaling. We further show that pharmacologic PI3K or AKT inhibition, but not mTORC1 inhibition, causes a neuronal differentiation delay, mimicking the patient phenotype. Together these data suggest that heterozygous TSC2 mutations disrupt neuronal development, potentially contributing to the disease neuropathology, and that this defect may result from dysregulated PI3K/AKT signaling in neural progenitor cells.

Zhang Q, Xiang W, Yi DY, et al.
Current status and potential challenges of mesenchymal stem cell-based therapy for malignant gliomas.
Stem Cell Res Ther. 2018; 9(1):228 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2019 Related Publications
Glioma, which accounts for more than 30% of primary central nervous system tumours, is characterised by symptoms such as headaches, epilepsy, and blurred vision. Glioblastoma multiforme is the most aggressive, malignant, and lethal brain tumour in adults. Even with progressive combination treatment with surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, the prognosis for glioma patients is still extremely poor. Compared with the poor outcome and slowly developing technologies for surgery and radiotherapy, the application of targeted chemotherapy with a new mechanism has become a research focus in this field.Moreover, targeted therapy is promising for most solid tumours. The tumour-tropic ability of stem cells, including neural stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells, provides an alternative therapeutic approach. Thus, mesenchymal stem cell-based therapy is based on a tumour-selective capacity and has been thought to be an effective anti-tumour option over the past decades. An increasing number of basic studies on mesenchymal stem cell-based therapy for gliomas has yielded complex outcomes.In this review, we summarise the biological characteristics of human mesenchymal stem cells, and the current status and potential challenges of mesenchymal stem cell-based therapy in patients with malignant gliomas.

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