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Eukaryotic Cell

Year: 2008  |  Volume: 7  |  Issue: 5  |  Page No.: 894 - 905

Dictyostelium Aurora Kinase Has Properties of both Aurora A and Aurora B Kinases

Hui Li, Qian Chen, Markus Kaller, Wolfgang Nellen, Ralph Graf and Arturo De Lozanne


Aurora kinases are highly conserved proteins with important roles in mitosis. Metazoans contain two kinases, Aurora A and B, which contribute distinct functions at the spindle poles and the equatorial region respectively. It is not currently known whether the specialized functions of the two kinases arose after their duplication in animal cells or were already present in their ancestral kinase. We show that Dictyostelium discoideum contains a single Aurora kinase, DdAurora, that displays characteristics of both Aurora A and B. Like Aurora A, DdAurora has an extended N-terminal domain with an A-box sequence and localizes at the spindle poles during early mitosis. Like Aurora B, DdAurora binds to its partner DdINCENP and localizes on centromeres at metaphase, the central spindle during anaphase, and the cleavage furrow at the end of cytokinesis. DdAurora also has several unusual properties. DdAurora remains associated with centromeres in anaphase, and this association does not require an interaction with DdINCENP. DdAurora then localizes at the cleavage furrow, but only at the end of cytokinesis. This localization is dependent on DdINCENP and the motor proteins Kif12 and myosin II. Thus, DdAurora may represent the ancestral kinase that gave rise to the different Aurora kinases in animals and also those in other organisms.

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