To elucidate the molecular mechanisms of cell death, we have cloned a new gene, designated death-upregulated gene (DUG), from rat insulinoma cells. DUG is constitutively expressed at very low levels in normal cells but is dramatically upregulated in apoptotic cells following serum/glucose starvation or death receptor ligation by Fas ligand. The DUG mRNA is present in two splicing forms: a long form that encodes a protein of 469 amino acids and a short form that gives rise to a polypeptide of 432 amino acids. The predicted DUG protein sequence contains two putative nuclear localization signals and multiple phosphorylation sites for protein kinases and two conserved MA3 domains. Importantly, DUG is homologous to eukaryotic translation initiation factor (eIF) 4G and binds to eIF4A presumably through MA3 domains. Upon transfection, DUG inhibits both intrinsic and extrinsic pathways of apoptosis. Thus, DUG is a novel homologue of eIF4G that regulates apoptosis.