Ajuba phosphorylation by CDK1 promotes cell proliferation and tumorigenesis

Xingcheng Chen, Seth Stauffer, Yuanhong Chen, Jixin Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Recent studies identified the adaptor protein Ajuba as a positive regulator of Yes-associated protein (YAP) oncogenic activity through inhibiting large tumor suppressor (Lats1/2) core kinases of the Hippo pathway, a signaling pathway that plays important roles in cancer. In this study, we define a novel mechanism for phospho-regulation of Ajuba in mitosis and its biological significance in cancer. We found that Ajuba is phosphorylated in vitro and in vivo by cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) at Ser119 and Ser175 during the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. Mitotic phosphorylation of Ajuba controls the expression of multiple cell cycle regulators; however, it does not affect Hippo signaling activity, nor does it induce epithelial-mesenchymal transition. We further showed that mitotic phosphorylation of Ajuba is sufficient to promote cell proliferation and anchorage- independent growth in vitro and tumorigenesis in vivo. Collectively, our discoveries reveal a previously unrecognized mechanism for Ajuba regulation in mitosis and its role in tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14761-14772
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 8 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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