Researchers from Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia have found that Aurora A kinase, an enzyme linked to tumor growth in cancer, may contribute to polycystic kidney disease. They discovered that Aurora A is over-expressed in the cells lining PKD cysts. It likely contributes to the disease by disrupting the activity of polycystin-2, a protein produced by the PKD-2 gene, which is often mutated in patients. Polycystin-2 acts as a calcium channel, allowing the flow of calcium ions into kidney cells and triggering functions important to kidney development. The scientists theorize that inhibiting Aurora A may restore polycystin-2 activity in some PKD patients. They hope continued research will explain why Aurora A is over-expressed in PKD and plan to conduct experiments to determine if inhibiting Aurora A slows the growth of cysts.
Aurora A May Contribute to Kidney Disease, Rockefeller University Press, June 13, 2011
Research Abstract: Aurora A Kinase Activity Influences Calcium Signaling in Kidney Cells