Background: Kinesin family member 4A (KIF4A), a microtubule-based motor protein, was implicated in regulation of chromosomal structure and kinetochore microtubule dynamics. Considering the functions of KIF4A, we assumed that KIF4A is involved in progression of oral squamous cell carcinomas (OSCCs) via activation of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC). However, little is known about the relevance of KIF4A in the behavior of OSCC. We investigated the KIF4A expression status and its functional mechanisms in OSCC. Methods: The KIF4A expression levels in seven OSCC-derived cells were analyzed by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and immunoblotting analyses. Using a KIF4A knockdown model, we assessed the expression of (SAC)-related molecules (BUB1, MAD2, CDC20, and cyclin B1), cell-cycle, and cellular proliferation. In addition to in vitro data, the clinical correlation between the KIF4A expression levels in primary OSCCs (n = 106 patients) and the clinicopathologic status by immunohistochemistry (IHC) also were evaluated. Results: KIF4A mRNA and protein were up-regulated significantly (P < 0.05) in seven OSCC-derived cells compared with human normal oral keratinocytes. In the KIF4A knockdown cells, SAC activation was observed via increased BUB1 expression on the kinetochores, appropriate kinetochore localization of MAD2, down-regulation of CDC20, upregulation of cyclin B1, and cell-cycle arrested at G2/M phase. The results showed that cellular proliferation of KIF4A knockdown cells decreased significantly (P < 0.05) compared with control cells. IHC showed that KIF4A expression in primary OSCCs was significantly (P < 0.05) greater than in the normal oral counterparts and that KIF4A-positive OSCCs were correlated closely (P < 0.05) with tumoral size. Conclusions: Our results proposed for the first time that KIF4A controls cellular proliferation via SAC activation. Therefore, KIF4A might be a key regulator for tumoral progression in OSCCs. © 2013 Minakawa et al.
Minakawa, Y., Kasamatsu, A., Koike, H., Higo, M., Nakashima, D., Kouzu, Y., … Uzawa, K. (2013). Kinesin family member 4A: A potential predictor for progression of human oral cancer. PLoS ONE, 8(12). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0085951