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Traffic. 2006 Nov;7(11):1461-72. Epub 2006 Sep 19.

Nucleocytoplasmic shuttling and the biological activity of mouse survivin are regulated by an active nuclear export signal.

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Georg-Speyer-Haus, Institute for Biomedical Research, Paul-Ehrlich-Street 42-44, D-60596 Frankfurt, Germany.


Survivin appears to function as a regulator of cell division and as an apoptosis inhibitor in many species. Here, we characterized the nucleocytoplasmic transport of mouse survivin(140), and its splice variants survivin(121) and survivin(40). We show that the dynamic intracellular localization of survivin(140) is mediated by a Crm1-dependent nuclear export signal (NES) present also in survivin(121), but absent in survivin(40). In contrast, neither survivin nor survivin splice variants contain an active nuclear import signal and seem to enter the nucleus by passive diffusion. The activity of the NES is required for survivin-mediated protection against cell death inducing stimuli and influences protein degradation. During mitosis, NES-deficient survivin variants fail to correctly localize to the mitotic machinery and promote proper cell division. In vivo and in vitro protein interaction assays show that survivin(140) and survivin(121) as well as their export-deficient mutants are able to form homo- as well as heterodimers. The trans-dominant negative phenotype observed upon expression of export-deficient survivin appears, therefore, to be mediated by the formation of inactive survivin heterodimers. The survivin-Crm1 axis is essential for the biological activities of murine survivin, and mouse models will allow investigating its functional implications during development and tumorigenesis.

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