Overexpression of survivin initiates hematologic malignancies in vivo

Small, S.; Keerthivasan, G.; Huang, Z.; Gurbuxani, S.; Crispino, J. D.

Leukemia. 2010 Oct 1; 24(11):1920-6


Survivin is an inhibitor of apoptosis protein family member that has an essential role in cellular proliferation as a component of the chromosome passenger complex. Survivin is highly expressed in embryos and in proliferating adult tissues, but it is not expressed in most differentiated cells. During tumorigenesis, however, survivin expression is dramatically upregulated. Although many studies have shown that survivin is required for cancer cells, the extent to which survivin contributes to the initiation of tumors is unknown. Here we show that transgenic mice that overexpress survivin in hematopoietic cells are at an increased risk of hematologic tumors. In examining how survivin might contribute to tumorigenesis, we observed that hematopoietic cells engineered to overexpress survivin are less susceptible to apoptosis. We conclude that survivin may promote tumorigenesis by imparting a survival advantage to cells that acquire additional genetic lesions.

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