Aurora-A induces cell survival and chemoresistance by activation of Akt through a p53-dependent manner in ovarian cancer cells

Int J Cancer. 2006 Nov 15;119(10):2304-12. doi: 10.1002/ijc.22154.


Aurora-A is frequently altered in epithelial malignancies. Overexpressing Aurora-A induces centrosome amplification and G2/M cell cycle progression. We have previously shown elevated level of Aurora-A in ovarian cancer and activation of telomerase by Aurora-A in human mammary and ovarian epithelia. Here we report that Aurora-A protects ovarian cancer cells from apoptosis induced by chemotherapeutic agent and activates Akt pathway in a p53-dependent manner. Ectopic expression of Aurora-A renders cells resistant to cisplatin (CDDP), etoposide and paclitaxel-induced apoptosis and stimulates Akt1 and Akt2 activity in wild-type p53 but not p53-null ovarian cancer cells. Aurora-A inhibits cytochrome C release and Bax conformational change induced by CDDP. Knockdown of Aurora-A by RNAi sensitizes cells to CDDP-induced apoptosis and decreases phospho-Akt level in wild-type p53 cells. Reintroduction of p53 decreases Akt1 and Akt2 activation and restores CDDP sensitivity in p53-null but not p53-null-Aurora-A cells. Inhibition of Akt by small molecule inhibitor, API-2, overcomes the effects of Aurora-A-on cell survival and Bax mitochondrial translocation. Taken collectively, these data indicate that Aurora-A activates Akt and induces chemoresistance in a p53-dependent manner and that inhibition of Akt may be an effective means of overcoming Aurora-A-associated chemoresistance in ovarian cancer cells expressing wild-type p53.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival
  • Cisplatin / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Etoposide / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Etoposide
  • AKT1 protein, human
  • AKT2 protein, human
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Paclitaxel
  • Cisplatin