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Onco Targets Ther. 2010 Dec 6;3:247-54. doi: 10.2147/OTT.S15293.

Survivin-T34A: molecular mechanism and therapeutic potential.

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Center for Health Disparities, Research and Molecular Medicine, Division of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Department of Basic Sciences, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, USA.


The inhibitor of apoptosis protein survivin's threonine 34 to alanine (T34A) mutation abolishes a phosphorylation site for p34(cdc2)-cyclin B1, resulting in initiation of the mitochondrial apoptotic pathway in cancer cells; however, it has little known direct effects on normal cells. The possibility that targeting survivin in this way may provide a novel approach for selective cancer gene therapy has yet to be fully evaluated. Although a flurry of work was undertaken in the late 1990s and early 2000s, only minor advances on this mutant have recently taken place. We recently described that cells generated to express a stable form of the mutant protein released this survivin-T34A to the conditioned medium. When this conditioned medium was collected and deposited on naive tumor cells, conditioned medium T34A was as effective as some chemotherapeutics in the induction of tumor cell apoptosis, and when combined with other forms of genotoxic stressors potentiated their killing effects. We hope with this review to revitalize the T34A field, as there is still much that needs to be investigated. In addition to determining the therapeutic dose and the duration of drug therapy required at the disease site, a better understanding of other key factors is also important. These include knowledge of target cell populations, cell-surface receptors, changes that occur in the target tissue at the molecular and cellular level with progression of the disease, and the mechanism and site of therapeutic action.


T34A; apoptosis; proliferation; survivin; therapy

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