p53-upregulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA) is a BH3-only Bcl-2 family protein and an essential mediator of DNA damage-induced apoptosis. PUMA is localized in the mitochondria and induces apoptosis through the mitochondrial pathway. However, the mechanisms of PUMA-induced apoptosis remain unclear. In this study, we found that second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase (SMAC)/Diablo, a mitochondrial apoptogenic protein, mediates the proapoptotic function of PUMA by regulating PUMA-induced mitochondrial events. SMAC is consistently released into the cytosol in colon cancer cells undergoing PUMA-induced apoptosis. In SMAC-deficient cells, execution of PUMA-induced apoptosis is abrogated, in company with decreases in caspase activation, cytosolic release of cytochrome c and collapse of mitochondrial membrane potential. Reconstituting SMAC expression restored these events in the SMAC-deficient cells. Furthermore, SMAC and agents that mimic the inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) inhibition function of SMAC significantly sensitize cells to PUMA-induced apoptosis. These results demonstrate an important role of SMAC in executing DNA damage-induced and PUMA-mediated apoptosis and suggest that SMAC participates in a feedback amplification loop to promote cytochrome c release and other mitochondrial events in apoptosis.