The interplay between the Bcl-2 family and death receptor-mediated apoptosis

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2004 Mar 1;1644(2-3):125-32. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2003.11.002.


Two principal pathways for apoptosis initiation exist. One pathway, which is also termed the 'extrinsic' pathway, is mediated by death receptors, a subgroup of the TNF receptor superfamily. The second pathway, which is also referred to as the 'intrinsic' pathway is controlled by members of the Bcl-2 family. A long standing discussion revolves around the question of how these two pathways influence each other in regulating the decision about life or death of a cell. Here, we review our current knowledge about the interactions between these two pathways and discuss current models which could help to resolve previous apparently contradictory results.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / physiology*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Caspases