Identification of a small-molecule inhibitor of the interaction between Survivin and Smac/DIABLO

Tsuyoshi Oikawa, Yuka Unno, Kenji Matsuno, Jun ichi Sawada, Naohisa Ogo, Kiyoshi Tanaka, Akira Asai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The protein Survivin is selectively overexpressed in a variety of cancers, but not in normal tissues. It has been reported to be involved in cell survival and cell division. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in its function are not clear, although several binding partner proteins have been proposed to date. Here, we report the identification of a novel small molecule Survivin antagonist, which disrupts the Survivin-Smac/DIABLO interaction in cells. In order to identify Survivin-directed antagonists, we developed a high-throughput screening system based on AlphaScreen technology, which allows the identification of small molecules with the ability to inhibit the interaction of Survivin with Smac/DIABLO or INCENP in vitro. We screened chemical libraries, generated in-house, using this system and identified a 5-deazaflavin analog (compound 1) as a hit compound that selectively inhibited the interaction of Survivin with Smac/DIABLO but not INCENP. In cultured cells, compound 1 abrogated the formation of the complex between Survivin and Smac/DIABLO. In addition, this compound was able to sensitize cultured cells to doxorubicin-mediated DNA damage stress and synergistically enhance apoptotic cell death. Thus, the small-molecule inhibitor described here may serve as a proof-of-principle agent for discriminating between the multiple functions of Survivin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-258
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Mar 5


  • 5-Deazaflavin
  • Apoptosis
  • High-throughput screening
  • Smac/DIABLO
  • Survivin


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