Background: The regulation of programmed cell death is critical to developmental homeostasis and normal morphogenesis of embryonic tissues. Survivin, a member of the inhibitors of apoptosis protein (IAP) family primarily expressed in embryonic cells, is both an anti-apoptosis and a pro-survival factor. Since our previous studies have demonstrated the importance of apoptosis during embryonic submandibular salivary gland (SMG) development, we postulated that survivin is a likely mediator of SMG epithelial cell survival. Results: We investigated the developmental expression of survivin in Pseudoglandular (∼ E14), Canalicular (∼ E15) and Terminal Bud (∼ E17) Stage SMGs. We report a significant 26% increase in transcript levels between the Canalicular and Terminal Bud Stages. Immunohistochemical studies demonstrate nuclear-localized survivin protein in epithelial cells bounding forming lumina in Canalicular and Terminal Bud Stage SMGs. Conclusions: Survivin is known to be a pro-survival and anti-apoptotic factor. Given that survivin translocation into the nucleus is required for the induction of entry into the cell cycle and the inhibition of apoptosis, our demonstration of nuclear-localized survivin protein in presumptive ductal and proacinar lumen-bounding cells suggests that survivin may be a key mediator of embryonic SMG epithelial cell survival.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology