Global assessment of its network dynamics reveals that the kinase Plk1 inhibits the phosphatase PP6 to promote Aurora A activity

Sci Signal. 2018 May 15;11(530):eaaq1441. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.aaq1441.


Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) is an essential protein kinase that promotes faithful mitotic progression in eukaryotes. The subcellular localization and substrate interactions of Plk1 are tightly controlled and require its binding to phosphorylated residues. To identify phosphorylation-dependent interactions within the Plk1 network in human mitotic cells, we performed quantitative proteomics on HeLa cells cultured with kinase inhibitors or expressing a Plk1 mutant that was deficient in phosphorylation-dependent substrate binding. We found that many interactions were abolished upon kinase inhibition; however, a subset was protected from phosphatase opposition or was unopposed, resulting in persistent interaction of the substrate with Plk1. This subset includes phosphoprotein phosphatase 6 (PP6), whose activity toward Aurora kinase A (Aurora A) was inhibited by Plk1. Our data suggest that this Plk1-PP6 interaction generates a feedback loop that coordinates and reinforces the activities of Plk1 and Aurora A during mitotic entry and is terminated by the degradation of Plk1 during mitotic exit. Thus, we have identified a mechanism for the previously puzzling observation of the Plk1-dependent regulation of Aurora A.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aurora Kinase A / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Aurora Kinase A / genetics
  • Aurora Kinase A / metabolism*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Mitosis*
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / genetics
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs*
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Small Molecule Libraries / pharmacology


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Small Molecule Libraries
  • AURKA protein, human
  • Aurora Kinase A
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • polo-like kinase 1
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases
  • protein phosphatase 6