Participation of Survivin in mitotic and apoptotic activities of normal and tumor-derived cells

J Cell Biochem. 2001 Aug 1-9;83(2):342-54. doi: 10.1002/jcb.1228.


Survivin is a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) gene family, containing a single baculovirus IAP repeat (BIR) and no RING finger, that is expressed in many human cancers. Although it has been proposed to be involved in mitotic and cytokinetic processes, its functional subcellular distribution in the cytoplasm and nucleus, and its binding to centrosomes, spindle fibers, and centromeres in relation to these processes, is not fully resolved. We have analyzed the localization of Survivin in normal (Detroit 551, IMR-90) and tumor-derived (HeLa, Saos-2) cell lines, and found that it does colocalize with centrosomes in the cytoplasm during interphase, then moves to centromeres during mitosis, and finally localizes to the midbody spindle fibers during telophase. However, Taxol, a popular microtubule stabilizing agent that is frequently used in the study of these processes, severely disrupted the localization of Survivin. Taxol treatment of cells promoted extensive relocalization of Survivin with alpha-tubulin on microtubules during either interphase or mitosis. Survivin antisense oligonucleotide markedly sensitized HeLa cells to cell death induced by agents acting at the level of cell surface receptor (Fas pathway) or at the level of mitochondria (etoposide). HeLa cell death induced by Survivin antisense oligonucleotide could be partially complemented by Deterin, the Drosophila homolog of Survivin (Jones et al. [2000] J. Biol. Chem. 275:22157-22166). Reciprocally, a chimera of the Deterin BIR domain and Survivin C-terminus could rescue Drosophila Kc cells from death induced by transfection of a human caspase-7-expressing plasmid. These results indicate common components of Survivin and Deterin antiapoptotic action in the vertebrate and invertebrate phyla.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / chemistry
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / drug effects
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism*
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • HeLa Cells / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • Kinetochores / chemistry
  • Kinetochores / metabolism*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins*
  • Mitosis / physiology*
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense / pharmacology
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology
  • Subcellular Fractions / chemistry
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism
  • Survivin
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • BIRC5 protein, human
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Det protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Oligonucleotides, Antisense
  • Survivin
  • Paclitaxel