Research ArticleCancer

Survivin promotes oxidative phosphorylation, subcellular mitochondrial repositioning, and tumor cell invasion

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Sci. Signal.  11 Aug 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 389, pp. ra80
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aab1624

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Energy for metastasis

Survivin is a member of a family of proteins that inhibit cell death, and a drug that inhibits this protein is undergoing clinical testing. Survivin is found both in the cytoplasm and in mitochondria, the organelles that produce ATP (adenosine 5′-triphosphate). Rivadeneira et al. found that in PC3 prostate cancer cells, the mitochondrial pool of survivin enhanced metabolic processes that produce ATP and promoted the relocalization of mitochondria to the areas of the cell that would need energy to fuel the subcellular changes that are required for migration. Targeting survivin, either pharmacologically or with RNA interference, decreased the movement of PC3 cells. Overexpressing mitochondrial survivin in cancer cells that have low motility increased their ability to metastasize in mice.