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J Cell Sci 2010 Nov 15;123Pt 22:3978-88. doi: 10.1242/jcs.076315.
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A single starfish Aurora kinase performs the combined functions of Aurora-A and Aurora-B in human cells.

Abe Y , Okumura E , Hosoya T , Hirota T , Kishimoto T .

Aurora, an essential mitotic kinase, is highly conserved during evolution. Most vertebrates have at least two Aurora kinases, Aurora-A and Aurora-B, which have distinct functions in the centrosome-spindle and inner centromere-midbody, respectively. However, some non-vertebrate deuterostomes have only a single Aurora. It remains to be verified whether the single Aurora performs the same functions as vertebrate Auroras A and B combined. We have isolated a cDNA of a single Aurora (ApAurora) from the echinoderm starfish, Asterina pectinifera, and show that ApAurora displays most features of both Aurora-A and Aurora-B in starfish oocytes and early embryos. Furthermore, ApAurora that is stably expressed in HeLa cells can substitute for both human Aurora-A and Aurora-B when either is reduced by RNAi. A single ApAurora thus has properties of both Aurora-A and Aurora-B in starfish eggs and HeLa cells. Together with phylogenetic analysis indicating that ApAurora forms a clade with all types of vertebrate Auroras and single Auroras of non-vertebrate deuterostomes, our observations support the idea that the single Aurora found in non-vertebrate deuterostomes represents the ancestor that gave rise to various types of vertebrate Auroras. This study thus provides functional evidence for phylogenetic considerations.

PubMed ID: 21048162
Article link: J Cell Sci