Anti-apoptotic proteins in the autophagic world: An update on functions of XIAP, Survivin, and BRUCE

Chun Hei Antonio Cheung, Yung Chieh Chang, Tzu Yu Lin, Siao Muk Cheng, Euphemia Leung

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), survivin, and BRUCE are members of the inhibitor-of-apoptosis protein (IAP) family known for their inhibitory effects on caspase activity and dysregulation of these molecules has widely been shown to cause embryonic defects and to promote tumorigenesis in human. Besides the anti-apoptotic functions, recent discoveries have revealed that XIAP, survivin, and BRUCE also exhibit regulatory functions for autophagy in cells. As the role of autophagy in human diseases has already been discussed extensively in different reviews; in this review, we will discuss the emerging autophagic role of XIAP, survivin, and BRUCE in cancer cells. We also provide an update on the anti-apoptotic functions and the roles in maintaining DNA integrity of these molecules. Second mitochondria-derived activator of caspases (Smac) is a pro-apoptotic protein and IAPs are the molecular targets of various Smac mimetics currently under clinical trials. Better understanding on the functions of XIAP, survivin, and BRUCE can enable us to predict possible side effects of these drugs and to design a more "patient-specific" clinical trial for Smac mimetics in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
JournalJournal of biomedical science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 5

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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