Last updated on: 06.05.2021

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The protein survivin was first identified in 1997 by G. Ambrosini et al. in various malignant cell lines and a number of fetal tissues.

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The survivin gene also called BIRC5 gene is located on chromosome 17q25. The gene is a member of the Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP) gene family, which encode negative regulatory proteins that prevent apoptotic cell death. BIRC5 encodes a 142-amino acid protein of the same name(survivin). This is a so-called "multitasking protein" that plays a dual role in promoting cell proliferation and further in inhibiting apoptosis. It is also called "survival protein".

General information
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Survivin is selectively overexpressed in common human malignancies (Ambrosini et al. 1997). It has 6 potential phosphorylation sites and is a component of a chromosome passage protein (CPC) complex essential for chromosome alignment and segregation during mitosis and cytokinesis. During embryonic development, the protein acts as an important regulator of the localization of this complex, directing CPC movement to various locations from the inner centromere during prometaphase to the midbody during cytokinesis, and participating in the organization of the center spindle through association with polymerized microtubules.

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Survivin expression is not observed in adult tissues after embryonic development, except in thymus and placenta. Immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization analyses of tumor tissues showed abundant expression in adenocarcinomas of the lung, pancreas, breast, and prostate, and in squamous cell carcinomas of the lung. Adjacent non-neoplastic tissue did not show survivin expression. Survivin is also expressed in high-grade but not low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphomas. In breast carcinoma, high survivin expression was significantly associated with negative estrogen receptor status and positive Ki67 expression (Sušac I et al. 2019).

Survivin - gene polymorphisms may be associated with susceptibility to chronic HBV in Iranian HBV patients (Moudi B et al. 2020).

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The protein is of great importance for apoptosis regulation in transformed cells. Thus, shortly after its discovery, it was considered a potential biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of cancer, as well as a possible target protein in the therapy of malignancies.

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  1. Ambrosini G et al (1997) A novel anti-apoptosis gene, survivin, expressed in cancer and lymphoma. Nature Med 3: 917-921
  2. Adida C et al (1998) Developmentally regulated expression of the novel cancer anti-apoptosis gene survivin in human and mouse differentiation. Am J Path 152: 43-49
  3. Adida C et al (2000) Prognostic significance of survivin expression in diffuse large B-cell lymphomas. Blood 96: 1921-1925.
  4. Caldas H et al (2006) Survivin-directed RNA interference cocktail is a potent suppressor of tumor growth in vivo. J Med Genet. 43: 119-128
  5. Grossman D et al (2001) Inhibition of melanoma tumor growth in vivo by survivin targeting. Proc Nat Acad Sci 98: 635-640
  6. Moudi B et al (2020) Polymorphisms of BIRC5 Gene is Associated with Chronic HBV Infection in Iranian Population. Indian J Clin Biochem 35:158-168.
  7. Sušac I et al (2019) Polymorphisms in Survivin (BIRC5 Gene) Are Associated with Age of Onset in Breast Cancer Patients. J Oncol 28: 3483192.
  8. Wurl P et al (2002) Co-expression of survivin and TERT and risk of tumour-related death in patients with soft-tissue sarcoma. Lancet 359: 943-945

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Last updated on: 06.05.2021