J Cancer 2015; 6(11):1187-1194. doi:10.7150/jca.12437

Research Paper

Silencing of Survivin Expression Leads to Reduced Proliferation and Cell Cycle Arrest in Cancer Cells

Yuhuan Li1, Da Liu1, Yulin Zhou1, Yujing Li1, Jing Xie1, Robert J. Lee1, 2, Yong Cai1, Lesheng Teng1,✉

1. Institute of Life Sciences, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, P. R. China
2. Division of Pharmaceutics, College of Pharmacy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, U.S.A


Survivin is an anti-apoptotic gene that is overexpressed in most human tumors. RNA interference using short interfering RNA (siRNA) can be used to specifically inhibit survivin expression. Tumor cells were treated with a newly designed survivin siRNA, which was modified with 2′-OMe. Cellular survivin mRNA and protein levels were determined by real-time qRT-PCR and Western blot, respectively. Cell cycle and apoptosis were determined by flow cytometry. Cell proliferation was measured by MTT assay. Our data showed that the novel survivin-targeted siRNA could efficiently knockdown the expression of survivin and inhibit cell proliferation. Survivin mRNA was reduced by 95% after 48h treatment with 20nM siRNA. In addition, the siRNA could markedly arrest the cell cycle at the G2/M checkpoint and induce cellular apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. The percentage of apoptotic cells reached 50% when treated with 40nM siRNA. In conclusion, we have identified a novel chemically modified siRNA against survivin that is highly efficient and delineated its mechanism of action, thus demonstrating a potential therapeutic role for this molecule in cancer. Further evaluation of this siRNA for therapeutic activity is warranted.

Keywords: survivin, RNA interference, cancer, apoptosis, cell cycle checkpoint

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How to cite this article:
Li Y, Liu D, Zhou Y, Li Y, Xie J, Lee RJ, Cai Y, Teng L. Silencing of Survivin Expression Leads to Reduced Proliferation and Cell Cycle Arrest in Cancer Cells. J Cancer 2015; 6(11):1187-1194. doi:10.7150/jca.12437. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v06p1187.htm