Death the Fas way: regulation and pathophysiology of CD95 and its ligand

Pharmacol Ther. 2000 Dec;88(3):333-47. doi: 10.1016/s0163-7258(00)00096-6.


Apoptotic cell death mediated by the members of the tumor necrosis factor receptor family is an essential process involved in the regulation of cellular homeostasis during development, differentiation, and pathophysiological conditions. Among the cell death receptors comprising the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily, CD95/APO-1 (Fas) is the best characterized. The specific interaction of Fas with its cognate ligand, Fas ligand (FasL), elicits the activation of a death-inducing caspase (cysteine aspartic acid proteases) cascade, occurring in a transcription-independent manner. Caspase activation executes the apoptosis process by cleaving various intracellular substrates, leading to genomic DNA fragmentation, cell membrane blebbing, and the exposure of phagocytosis signaling molecules on the cell surface. Recent studies have shown that the Fas/FasL pathway plays an important role in regulating the life and death of the immune system through activation-induced cell death. In addition, these molecules have been implicated in aging, human immunodeficiency virus infection, drug abuse, stress, and cancer development. In this review, we will focus on the mechanisms that regulate Fas and FasL expression, and how their deregulation leads to diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Apoptosis*
  • Blister
  • Cell Membrane
  • DNA Damage
  • Fas Ligand Protein
  • HIV Infections / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / biosynthesis*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / pharmacology
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Phagocytosis
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / immunology
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Substance-Related Disorders
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Up-Regulation
  • fas Receptor / biosynthesis*
  • fas Receptor / immunology
  • fas Receptor / pharmacology


  • FASLG protein, human
  • Fas Ligand Protein
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • fas Receptor