13 June 2018
Aurora kinase A is regarded as a promising therapeutic target in cancers, but there is still much to discover about its roles in the cell, and how these contribute to cancer progression. A new study from Dr Rhys Grant et al. in Dr Catherine Lindon's Group at the Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge, shows that one of these roles concerns the organization of the mitochondrial network, the energy factory of the cell, which in the presence of excess Aurora A fragments into smaller units that are thought to function less efficiently. Fragmented mitochondria are a hallmark of cancerous cells, whose metabolism is less reliant on mitochondria than healthy cells. The finding that Aurora A is targeted to mitochondria raises exciting new questions about this key player that extend beyond its well-described role in controlling cell division to a more generalized role in cytoplasmic organization and metabolism.