Aurora A may contribute to kidney disease

June 13, 2011
Red staining indicates the presence of activated Aurora A kinase in the epithelial cells lining cysts in the kidneys of patients with polycystic kidney disease (PKD). A new study in The Journal of Cell Biology suggests that Aurora A may contribute to PKD, a common genetic disease, by inactivating a key calcium channel in kidney cells. Credit: Plotnikova, O.V., and E.A. Golemis. 2011. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.201012061.

The Aurora A kinase may contribute to polycystic kidney disease (PKD) by inactivating a key calcium channel in kidney cells, according to a study in the June 13 issue of The Journal of Cell Biology.

Aurora A is an oncogene best known as a regulator of mitotic progression. But the kinase has important functions during interphase as well, when it can promote cilia disassembly and can be activated by elevated calcium levels. Because both and cilia are defective in PKD, researchers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia wondered whether Aurora A might contribute to the pathology of this common genetic disease.

The researchers found that Aurora A was up-regulated and activated in epithelial cells lining the cysts in PKD patient kidneys. In addition, Aurora A bound to and phosphorylated a calcium channel called polycystin-2, whose gene, PKD2, is often mutated in autosomal dominant forms of PKD.

Polycystin-2 mediates the release of calcium from storage in the endoplasmic reticulum and into cilia. Inhibition or knockdown of Aurora A boosted intracellular calcium levels, but this effect was less pronounced in lacking polycystin-2, indicating that Aurora A normally lowers calcium levels by inactivating polycystin-2. Only small doses of inhibitor were required to increase calcium levels, suggesting that Aurora A may be a viable for boosting polycystin-2 activity in certain PKD patients. Senior author Erica Golemis now wants to investigate how Aurora A becomes up-regulated in PKD and whether inhibitors of the kinase can slow cyst formation in mouse models of the disease.

Explore further: Loss of cell's 'antenna' linked to cancer's development

More information: Plotnikova, O.V., and E.A. Golemis. 2011. J. Cell Biol. doi:10.1083/jcb.201012061

Related Stories

Loss of cell's 'antenna' linked to cancer's development

June 28, 2007

Submarines have periscopes. Insects have antennae. And increasingly, biologists are finding that most normal vertebrate cells have cilia, small hair-like structures that protrude like antennae into the surrounding environment ...

Experiments point to new treatments for PKD

April 2, 2008

A family of small molecules called CFTR inhibitors show promising effects in slowing the progression of polycystic kidney disease (PKD), the most common genetic disease of the kidneys, according to preliminary research reported ...

New insight into aggressive childhood cancer

January 5, 2009

A new study reveals critical molecular mechanisms associated with the development and progression of human neuroblastoma, the most common cancer in young children. The research, published by Cell Press in the January 6th ...

Researchers uncover activation signal for Aurora-A oncogene

September 7, 2010

Aurora-A kinase (AurA) is an enzyme that is hyperactive in many cancers and drives tumor cell proliferation. Several AurA inhibitors are currently being tested in clinical trials to see if they slow tumor growth. Now, researchers ...

A new target in polycystic kidney disease

September 13, 2010

In work suggesting a new approach to treating polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a leading cause of kidney failure, researchers at Children's Hospital Boston were able to block the formation of fluid-filled cysts, the hallmark ...

Recommended for you

Researchers design first artificial ribosome

July 29, 2015

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Northwestern University have engineered a tethered ribosome that works nearly as well as the authentic cellular component, or organelle, that produces all the proteins ...

Studies reveal details of error correction in cell division

July 29, 2015

Cell biologists led by Thomas Maresca at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with collaborators elsewhere, report an advance in understanding the workings of an error correction mechanism that helps cells detect and ...

Researchers discover new type of mycovirus

July 29, 2015

Researchers, led by Dr Robert Coutts, Leverhulme Research Fellow from the School of Life and Medical Sciences at the University of Hertfordshire, and Dr Ioly Kotta-Loizou, Research Associate at Imperial College, have discovered ...

Stressed out plants send animal-like signals

July 29, 2015

University of Adelaide research has shown for the first time that, despite not having a nervous system, plants use signals normally associated with animals when they encounter stress.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.