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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Aurora-A overexpression enhances cell-aggregation of Ha-ras transformants through the MEK/ERK signaling pathway

Ya-Shih Tseng1, Jenq-Chang Lee2, Chi-Ying F Huang3 and Hsiao-Sheng Liu45*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Technology, Chung Hwa University of Medical technology, Tainan, Taiwan

2 Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Tainan, Taiwan

3 Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan

4 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

5 Center for Gene Regulation and Signal Transduction Research, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:435  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-435

Published: 12 December 2009

Abstract

Background

Overexpression of Aurora-A and mutant Ras (RasV12) together has been detected in human bladder cancer tissue. However, it is not clear whether this phenomenon is a general event or not. Although crosstalk between Aurora-A and Ras signaling pathways has been reported, the role of these two genes acting together in tumorigenesis remains unclear.

Methods

Real-time PCR and sequence analysis were utilized to identify Ha- and Ki-ras mutation (Gly -> Val). Immunohistochemistry staining was used to measure the level of Aurora-A expression in bladder and colon cancer specimens. To reveal the effect of overexpression of the above two genes on cellular responses, mouse NIH3T3 fibroblast derived cell lines over-expressing either RasV12and wild-type Aurora-A (designated WT) or RasV12 and kinase-inactivated Aurora-A (KD) were established. MTT and focus formation assays were conducted to measure proliferation rate and focus formation capability of the cells. Small interfering RNA, pharmacological inhibitors and dominant negative genes were used to dissect the signaling pathways involved.

Results

Overexpression of wild-type Aurora-A and mutation of RasV12 were detected in human bladder and colon cancer tissues. Wild-type Aurora-A induces focus formation and aggregation of the RasV12 transformants. Aurora-A activates Ral A and the phosphorylation of AKT as well as enhances the phosphorylation of MEK, ERK of WT cells. Finally, the Ras/MEK/ERK signaling pathway is responsible for Aurora-A induced aggregation of the RasV12 transformants.

Conclusion

Wild-type-Aurora-A enhances focus formation and aggregation of the RasV12 transformants and the latter occurs through modulating the Ras/MEK/ERK signaling pathway.