Survivin is a unique member of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) protein family that interferes with post-mitochondrial events including activation of caspases. Survivin regulates cell cycle and is expressed in most tumors, but it is barely detectable in the terminally differentiated normal cells and tissues. The differential expression of survivin in cancer versus normal tissues makes it a useful tool in cancer diagnosis and a promising therapeutic target (1). Survivin is expressed in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. At the beginning of mitosis, survivin associates with microtubules of the mitotic spindle in a specific and saturable reaction that is regulated by microtubule dynamics. Disruption of survivin-microtubule interactions results in loss of survivin's anti-apoptosis function and increased caspase-3 activity, a mechanism involved in cell death, during mitosis (2).
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