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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(1), 72;

Differential Selective Pressures Experienced by the Aurora Kinase Gene Family

Department of Biology, Lone Star College, Woodlands, TX 77375, USA
Department of Biological Sciences, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX 77341, USA
Department of Computer Science, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX 77341, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 22 December 2017 / Accepted: 23 December 2017 / Published: 28 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Biochemistry)
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Aurora kinases (AKs) are serine/threonine kinases that are essential for cell division. Humans have three AK genes: AKA, AKB, and AKC. AKA is required for centrosome assembly, centrosome separation, and bipolar spindle assembly, and its mutation leads to abnormal spindle morphology. AKB is required for the spindle checkpoint and proper cytokinesis, and mutations cause chromosome misalignment and cytokinesis failure. AKC is expressed in germ cells, and has a role in meiosis analogous to that of AKB in mitosis. Mutation of any of the three isoforms can lead to cancer. AK proteins possess divergent N- and C-termini and a conserved central catalytic domain. We examined the evolution of the AK gene family using an identity matrix and by building a phylogenetic tree. The data suggest that AKA is the vertebrate ancestral gene, and that AKB and AKC resulted from gene duplication in placental mammals. In a nonsynonymous/synonymous rate substitution analysis, we found that AKB experienced the strongest, and AKC the weakest, purifying selection. Both the N- and C-termini and regions within the kinase domain experienced differential selection among the AK isoforms. These differentially selected sequences may be important for species specificity and isoform specificity, and are therefore potential therapeutic targets. View Full-Text
Keywords: aurora kinase; molecular phylogeny; synonymous; nonsynonymous aurora kinase; molecular phylogeny; synonymous; nonsynonymous

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Seeling, J.M.; Farmer, A.A.; Mansfield, A.; Cho, H.; Choudhary, M. Differential Selective Pressures Experienced by the Aurora Kinase Gene Family. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19, 72.

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