The apoptosome: signalling platform of cell death

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2007 May;8(5):405-13. doi: 10.1038/nrm2153. Epub 2007 Mar 21.


Recent work on the initial switches that trigger cell death has revealed surprising inventions of nature that ensure the ordered suicide of a cell that has been selected for demise. Particularly intriguing is how a signal--the release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria--is translated into the activation of the death cascade, which leads to a point of no return. Now there is new understanding of how this crucial process is delicately handled by a cytosolic signalling platform known as the apoptosome. The formation of the apoptosome and the activation of its effector, caspase-9, reveals a sophisticated mechanism that might be more common than was initially thought.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics*
  • Apoptosomes / metabolism
  • Apoptosomes / physiology*
  • Caspases, Effector / metabolism
  • Caspases, Effector / physiology
  • Caspases, Initiator / metabolism
  • Caspases, Initiator / physiology
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Deoxyadenine Nucleotides / physiology
  • Dimerization
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Molecular
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Apoptosomes
  • Deoxyadenine Nucleotides
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Caspases, Effector
  • Caspases, Initiator
  • 2'-deoxyadenosine triphosphate