Dying for NF-kappaB? Control of cell death by transcriptional regulation of the apoptotic machinery

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2003 Dec;15(6):732-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ceb.2003.10.005.


The transcription factor nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) is a pleiotropic protein complex that is activated from a sequestered, cytoplasmic form by pro-inflammatory extracellular signals and cellular stress. Several hundred cellular genes have been shown to be regulated by NF-kappaB, including cytokines, chemokines and adhesion molecules. Nearly eight years ago, a flurry of publications showed that loss or suppression of NF-kappaB results in an enhanced sensitivity to apoptosis. In the ensuing years, activation of NF-kappaB has become almost synonymous with enhanced cell survival, although more recent data suggests that this transcription factor plays a more complex role in the regulation of cell death.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Survival
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • NF-kappa B