Survivin is a member of the inhibitor-of-apoptosis proteins (IAPs) family; its overexpression has been widely demonstrated to occur in various types of cancer. Overexpression of survivin also correlates with tumor progression and induces anticancer drug resistance. Interestingly, recent studies reveal that survivin exhibits multiple pro-mitotic and anti-apoptotic functions; the differential functions of survivin seem to be caused by differential subcellular localization, phosphorylation, and acetylation of this molecule. In this review, the complex expression regulations and post-translational modifications of survivin are discussed. This review also discusses how recent discoveries improve our understanding of survivin biology and also create opportunities for developing differential-functioned survivin-targeted therapy. Databases such as PubMed, Scopus® (Elsevier, New York, NY, USA), and SciFinder® (CAS, Columbus, OH, USA) were used to search for literature in the preparation of this review.
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