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An essential function of the C. elegans ortholog of TPX2 is to localize activated aurora A kinase to mitotic spindles.

Ozlu N., Srayko M., Kinoshita K., Habermann B., O'toole E.T., Muller-Reichert T., Schmalz N., Desai A., Hyman A.A.

In vertebrates, the microtubule binding protein TPX2 is required for meiotic and mitotic spindle assembly. TPX2 is also known to bind to and activate Aurora A kinase and target it to the spindle. However, the relationship between the TPX2-Aurora A interaction and the role of TPX2 in spindle assembly is unclear. Here, we identify TPXL-1, a C. elegans protein that is the first characterized invertebrate ortholog of TPX2. We demonstrate that an essential role of TPXL-1 during mitosis is to activate and target Aurora A to microtubules. Our data suggest that this targeting stabilizes microtubules connecting kinetochores to the spindle poles. Thus, activation and targeting of Aurora A appears to be an ancient and conserved function of TPX2 that plays a central role in mitotic spindle assembly.

Dev. Cell 9:237-248(2005) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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