Background: It is known that aurora B, a chromosomal passenger protein responsible for the proper progression of mitosis and cytokinesis, is overexpressed throughout the cell cycle in cancer cells. Overexpression of aurora B produced multinuclearity and induced aggressive metastasis, suggesting that overexpressed aurora B has multiple functions in cancer development. However, the detailed dynamics and functions of overexpressed aurora B are poorly understood.
Results: We overexpressed GFP fused aurora B kinase in normal rat kidney epithelial cells. Using spinning disk confocal microscopy, we found that overexpressed aurora B-GFP was predominantly localized in the nucleus and along the cortex as a dot-like or short filamentous structure during interphase. Time-lapse imaging revealed that a cytoplasmic fraction of overexpressed aurora B-GFP was incorporated into the nucleus after cell division. Immunofluorescence showed that the nuclear fraction of overexpressed aurora B did not induce ectopic phosphorylation of histone H3 after cell division. The cytoplasmic fraction of overexpressed aurora B-GFP was mainly associated with cortical actin filaments but not stress fibers. Myosin II regulatory light chain, one of the possible targets for aurora B, did not colocalize with cortical aurora B-GFP, suggesting that overexpressed aurora B did not promote phosphorylation of myosin II regulatory light chain in interphase cells.
Conclusion: We conclude that overexpressed aurora B has a specific localization pattern in interphase cells. Based on our findings, we propose that overexpressed aurora B targets the nuclear and cortical proteins during interphase, which may contribute to cancer development and tumor metastasis.