The APC (anaphase-promoting complex) is a multisubunit E3 ubiquitin ligase that targets cell-cycle-related proteins for degradation by the 26 S proteasome. The APC contains at least 13 subunits and is regulated by the binding of co-activator proteins and by phosphorylation. It is not known why the APC contains 13 subunits when many other ubiquitin ligases are small single-subunit enzymes. In the present study, the structures and functions of individual APC subunits are discussed. By dissecting the roles of its parts, we hope to gain insight into the mechanism of the intact APC.