The double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) induces apoptosis by activation of the FADD/caspase 8 pathway. Here we show that upon PKR expression, caspase 9 is processed and activated, correlating with the translocation of cytochrome c to the cytoplasm and breakdown of mitochondrial potential upon Bax insertion. However, treatment of cells with an inhibitor of caspase 9 could not prevent PKR-induced apoptosis. During PKR-induced apoptosis, caspase 9 is activated downstream of caspase 8. Our findings revealed that caspase 9, although dispensable, is a mediator of PKR-induced cell death.