Serine/threonine kinase 31 (STK31) is one of the novel cancer/testis antigens for which its biological functions remain largely unclear. Here, we demonstrate that STK31 is overexpressed in many human colorectal cancer cell lines and tissues. STK31 co-localizes with pericentrin in the centrosomal region throughout all phases of the cell cycle. Interestingly, when cells undergo mitosis, STK31 also localizes to the centromeres, central spindle, and midbody. This localization behavior is similar to that of chromosomal passenger proteins, which are known to be the important players of the spindle assembly checkpoint. The expression of STK31 is cell cycle-dependent through the regulation of a putative D-box near its C-terminal region. Ectopically-expressed STK31-GFP increases cell migration and invasive ability without altering the proliferation rate of cancer cells, whereas the knockdown expression of endogenous STK31 by lentivirus-derived shRNA results in microtubule assembly defects that prolong the duration of mitosis and lead to apoptosis. Taken together, our results suggest that the aberrant expression of STK31 contributes to tumorigenicity in somatic cancer cells. STK31 might therefore act as a potential therapeutic target in human somatic cancers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)