ABSTRACT: The ciliary hypothesis for cystic renal diseases postulates that most of these conditions result from abnormalities in the primary cilium, a microtubule-based structure that acts as a sensor for extracellular cues. Inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene predisposes to renal cysts and clear cell renal cell carcinoma. VHL plays a critical role in the formation of primary cilia in kidney epithelium, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that VHL inactivation induces HEF1/Cas-L/NEDD9 and Aurora kinase A via the stabilization of hypoxia-inducible factors 1 and 2. Aurora kinase A is a mitotic kinase commonly upregulated in cancer that causes regression of the primary cilium by promoting histone deacetylase-dependent tubulin depolymerization of the ciliary axoneme. HEF1/Cas-L/NEDD9 is a component of focal adhesions that has a prominent role in inducing metastasis and that colocalizes with Aurora kinase A at the centrosome, thereby enhancing the harmful effect of Aurora kinase A on the cilium. Suppression of this pathway improved the formation of primary cilia and reduced cell motility in VHL-defective renal cancer cells. Our results highlight the gatekeeper role of VHL in the kidney epithelium.
Journal of the American Society of Nephrology 12/2010; 21(12):2041-6. · 9.66 Impact Factor