Mitochondrial effectors in caspase-independent cell death

FEBS Lett. 2004 Jan 16;557(1-3):14-20. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(03)01464-9.


Activation of caspases is recognized as a key element in the apoptotic process. However, new evidence is drawing attention to the emergent role of cell death pathways where caspases are not involved. Recent advances in the molecular understanding of these new ways to die, called caspase-independent, have revealed that mitochondria play an important role via the release of proapoptotic proteins. The purpose of this review is to integrate, from a biological and structural point of view, the most recent advances in the knowledge of the main mitochondrial proapoptotic proteins involved in this cell death cascade. The origin of programmed cell death is discussed through these strongly conserved effectors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Caspases / metabolism*
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Cell Death / physiology*
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Endodeoxyribonucleases / chemistry
  • Endodeoxyribonucleases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / physiology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Conformation
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Endodeoxyribonucleases
  • endonuclease G
  • Caspases