The apoptosome: physiological, developmental, and pathological modes of regulation

Dev Cell. 2006 May;10(5):549-61. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2006.04.008.


Apoptosis, a form of programmed cell death, is executed by a family of zymogenic proteases known as caspases, which cleave an array of intracellular substrates in the dying cell. Many proapoptotic stimuli trigger cytochrome c release from mitochondria, promoting the formation of a complex between Apaf-1 and caspase-9 in a caspase-activating structure known as the apoptosome. In this review, we describe knockout and knockin studies of apoptosome components, elegant structural and biochemical experiments, and analyses of the apoptosome in various cancers and other disease states, all of which have provided new insight into this critical locus of apoptotic control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Biological Evolution
  • Disease*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Humans