Survivin: a protein with dual roles in mitosis and apoptosis.
Survivin is a fascinating little protein that acts as a component of the chromosomal passenger complex, which is essential for cell division, and as an inhibitor of apoptosis. With dual roles in promoting cell proliferation and preventing apoptosis, it is considered a protein that interfaces life and death. Interest in survivin has been fueled by its abundance in human cancers, where it has potential as a prognostic marker for cancer, and as a target for chemotherapy. Accordingly, since its discovery in 1997, publications on survivin have risen exponentially in basic and clinical fields alike. This review highlights the key advances in our understanding of the cellular function of this protein.