Altered expression of Aurora kinases in Arabidopsis results in aneu- and polyploidization

Plant J. 2014 Nov;80(3):449-61. doi: 10.1111/tpj.12647. Epub 2014 Sep 19.


Aurora is an evolutionary conserved protein kinase family involved in monitoring of chromosome segregation via phosphorylation of different substrates. In plants, however, the involvement of Aurora proteins in meiosis and in sensing microtubule attachment remains to be proven, although the downstream components leading to the targeting of spindle assembly checkpoint signals to anaphase-promoting complex have been described. To analyze the three members of Aurora family (AtAurora1, -2, and -3) of Arabidopsis we employed different combinations of T-DNA insertion mutants and/or RNAi transformants. Meiotic defects and the formation of unreduced pollen were revealed including plants with an increased ploidy level. The effect of reduced expression of Aurora was mimicked by application of the ATP-competitive Aurora inhibitor II. In addition, strong overexpression of any member of the AtAurora family is not possible. Only tagged or truncated forms of Aurora kinases can be overexpressed. Expression of truncated AtAurora1 resulted in a high number of aneuploids in Arabidopsis, while expression of AtAurora1-TAPi construct in tobacco resulted in 4C (possible tetraploid) progeny. In conclusion, our data demonstrate an essential role of Aurora kinases in the monitoring of meiosis in plants.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; Aurora kinase; aneuploidization; chromosome segregation; meiotic defects; polyploidization; spindle assembly checkpoint.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Aurora Kinases / genetics
  • Aurora Kinases / metabolism*
  • Chromosome Segregation
  • Flowers / cytology
  • Flowers / enzymology
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Meiosis
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Mitosis
  • Multigene Family
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphorylation
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Polyploidy
  • Seedlings / cytology
  • Seedlings / enzymology
  • Seedlings / genetics
  • Seeds / cytology
  • Seeds / enzymology
  • Seeds / genetics


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Aurora Kinases