Regulation of survivin expression by IGF-1/mTOR signaling

Oncogene. 2007 Apr 26;26(19):2678-84. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1210094. Epub 2006 Oct 30.


Survivin is a dual regulator of cell proliferation and cell viability overexpressed in most human tumors. Although strategies to lower survivin levels have been pursued for rational cancer therapy, the molecular circuitries controlling survivin expression in tumors have not been completely elucidated. Here, we show that stimulation with insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) results in increased survivin expression in prostate cancer cells. This response is independent of de novo gene transcription, changes in mRNA expression or modifications of survivin protein stability. Instead, IGF-1 induced persistence and translation of a pool of survivin mRNA, in a reaction abolished by the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) inhibitor, rapamycin. Forced expression of the mTOR target p70S6K1 reproduced the increase in survivin expression in prostate cancer cells, whereas acute ablation of endogenous p70S6K1 by small interfering RNA downregulated survivin levels. Rapamycin, alone or in combination with suboptimal concentrations of taxol reduced survivin protein levels, and decreased viability of prostate cancer cells. Therefore, IGF-1/mTOR signaling elevates survivin in prostate cancer cells via rapid changes in mRNA translation. Antagonists of this pathway may be beneficial to lower an antiapoptotic threshold maintained by survivin in prostate cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Down-Regulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / genetics*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • RNA Stability
  • RNA, Small Interfering / pharmacology
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / genetics
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1 / physiology
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Sirolimus
  • Survivin
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects


  • BIRC5 protein, human
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Survivin
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Protein Kinases
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • mTOR protein, mouse
  • Receptor, IGF Type 1
  • Ribosomal Protein S6 Kinases, 70-kDa
  • Sirolimus