Open Access Research

The WW-HECT protein Smurf2 interacts with the Docking Protein NEDD9/HEF1 for Aurora A activation

Finola E Moore1, Evan C Osmundson1, Jennifer Koblinski23, Elena Pugacheva4, Erica A Golemis5, Dipankar Ray16* and Hiroaki Kiyokawa13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA

2 Department of Pathology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA

3 Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA

4 Department of Biochemistry, Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, West Virginia University; Morgantown, WV, USA

5 Program in Molecular and Translational Medicine, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA USA

6 Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI, USA

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Cell Division 2010, 5:22  doi:10.1186/1747-1028-5-22

Published: 8 September 2010


The multi-functional adaptor protein NEDD9/HEF1/Cas-L regulates cell motility, invasion and cell cycle progression, and plays key roles in cancer progression and metastasis. NEDD9 is localized to the centrosome and is required for activation of Aurora A kinase in mitosis. Here we demonstrate that the HECT-WW protein Smurf2 physically associates with NEDD9 and is required for the stability of NEDD9 protein. Smurf2 depletion results in a marked decrease in NEDD9 protein levels, by facilitating polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of NEDD9. Conversely, forced overexpression of Smurf2 results in upregulation of endogenous NEDD9 protein, confirming the role for Smurf2 in NEDD9 stability. Cells with Smurf2 depletion fail to activate Aurora A at the G2/M boundary, leading to a marked delay in mitotic entry. These observations suggest that the stable complex of Smurf2 and NEDD9 is required for timely entry into mitosis via Aurora A activation.