The presence of supernumerary centrosomes is prevalent in cancer, where they promote the formation of transient multipolar mitotic spindles. Active clustering of supernumerary centrosomes enables the formation of a functional bipolar spindle that is competent to complete a bipolar division. Disruption of spindle pole clustering in cancer cells promotes multipolar division and generation of non-proliferative daughter cells with compromised viability. Hence molecular pathways required for spindle pole clustering in cells with supernumerary centrosomes, but dispensable in normal cells, are promising therapeutic targets. Here we demonstrate that Aurora A kinase activity is required for spindle pole clustering in cells with extra centrosomes. While cells with two centrosomes are ultimately able to build a bipolar spindle and proceed through a normal cell division in the presence of Aurora A inhibition, cells with supernumerary centrosomes form multipolar and disorganized spindles that are not competent for chromosome segregation. Instead, following a prolonged mitosis, these cells experience catastrophic divisions that result in grossly aneuploid, and non-proliferative daughter cells. Aurora A inhibition in a panel of Acute Myeloid Leukemia cancer cells has a similarly disparate impact on cells with supernumerary centrosomes, suggesting that centrosome number and spindle polarity may serve as predictive biomarkers for response to therapeutic approaches that target Aurora A kinase function.
Navarro-Serer B., Childers E. P., Hermance N. M., Mercadante D., Manning A. L. Aurora A inhibition limits centrosome clustering and promotes mitotic catastrophe in cells with supernumerary centrosomes. Oncotarget. 2019; 10: 1649-1659. Retrieved from https://www.oncotarget.com/article/26714/text/
*denotes a WPI undergraduate student author