IAPs: what's in a name?

Mol Cell. 2008 Apr 25;30(2):123-35. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2008.03.008.


Originally described in insect viruses, cellular proteins with Baculoviral IAP repeat (BIR) motifs have been thought to function primarily as inhibitors of apoptosis. The subsequent finding that a subset of IAPs that contain a RING domain have ubiquitin protein ligase (E3) activity implied the presence of other functions. It is now known that IAPs are involved in mitotic chromosome segregation, cellular morphogenesis, copper homeostasis, and intracellular signaling. Here, we review the current understanding of the roles of IAPs in apoptotic and nonapoptotic processes and explore the notion that the latter represents the primary physiologic activities of IAPs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Movement
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins / chemistry*
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins / genetics
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Morphogenesis
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Copper