The double face of Morgana in tumorigenesis

Mara Brancaccio _, Stefania Rocca, Laura Seclì, Elena Busso and Federica Fusella

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:42603-42612. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.6058

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Mara Brancaccio1, Stefania Rocca1, Laura Seclì1, Elena Busso1 and Federica Fusella1

1 Department of Molecular Biotechnology and Health Sciences, University of Torino, Torino, Italy

Correspondence to:

Mara Brancaccio, email:

Keywords: Morgana, chord containing protein, ROCK, atypical chronic myeloid leukemia, chemoresistance

Received: July 13, 2015 Accepted: September 24, 2015 Published: October 09, 2015


Morgana is a chaperone protein able to bind to ROCK I and II and to inhibit their kinase activity. Rho kinases are multifunctional proteins involved in different cellular processes, including cytoskeleton organization, centrosome duplication, cell survival and proliferation. In human cancer samples Morgana appears to be either downregulated or overexpressed, and experimental evidence indicate that Morgana behaves both as an oncosuppressor and as a proto-oncogene. Our most recent findings demonstrated that if on the one hand low Morgana expression levels, by inducing ROCK II hyperactivation, cause centrosome overduplication and genomic instability, on the other hand, Morgana overexpression induces tumor cell survival and chemoresistance through the ROCK I-PTEN-AKT axis. Therefore, Morgana belongs to a new class of proteins, displaying both oncogenic and oncosuppressor features, depending on the specific cellular context.

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