Aurora kinase A interacts with H-Ras and potentiates Ras-MAPK signaling

Cancer cells dividing

Image courtesy of National Institutes of Health [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Umstead, M., Xiong, J., Qi, Q., Du, Y., Fu, H.


March 16, 2017

In cancer, upregulated Ras promotes cellular transformation and proliferation in part through activation of oncogenic Ras-MAPK signaling. While directly inhibiting Ras has proven challenging, new insights into Ras regulation through protein-protein interactions may offer unique opportunities for therapeutic intervention. Here we report the identification and validation of Aurora kinase A (Aurora A) as a novel Ras binding protein. We demonstrate that the kinase domain of Aurora A mediates the interaction with the N-terminal domain of H-Ras. Further more, the interaction of Aurora A and H-Ras exists in a protein complex with Raf-1. We show that binding of H-Ras to Raf-1 and subsequent MAPK signaling is enhanced by Aurora A, and requires active H-Ras. Thus, the functional linkage between Aurora A and the H-Ras/Raf-1 protein complex may provide a mechanism for Aurora A's oncogenic activity through direct activation of the Ras/MAPK pathway.

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Last updated: March 16, 2017