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Exp Cell Res. 2002 Apr 15;275(1):44-53.

CRM1-mediated nuclear export determines the cytoplasmic localization of the antiapoptotic protein Survivin.

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Department of Medical Oncology, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, HV1081, The Netherlands.


Survivin is a member of the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) family of negative regulators of programmed cell death that is frequently overexpressed in human tumors. Survivin is not only involved in the regulation of apoptosis, but is also known to play a role in the control of cell cycle progression at the G2/M phase. Survivin is a predominantly cytoplasmic protein expressed in a cell cycle-dependent manner, but the mechanism(s) that determine its nuclear-cytoplasmic localization have not been described. In this study, we report that Survivin is a nuclear shuttling protein that is actively exported from the nucleus via the CRM1-dependent pathway. Nuclear export of Survivin is independent of the export of other shuttling proteins that control the G2/M phase transition, such as cyclin B1 and cdc25. The carboxy-terminal domain of Survivin is both necessary and sufficient for its nuclear export, although this region does not contain a functional leucine-rich nuclear export signal. Differences in the amino acid sequence of this region determine the dramatically different localization of Survivin (in the cytoplasm) and its splicing variant Survivin-DeltaEx3 (in the nucleus). The carboxy-terminal end of Survivin-DeltaEx3 contains a bipartite nuclear localization signal, not present in Survivin, which mediates its strong nuclear accumulation. These data suggest that active transport between the nucleus and cytoplasm may constitute an important regulatory mechanism for Survivin function.

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