Apoptosome assembly

Methods Enzymol. 2008:442:141-56. doi: 10.1016/S0076-6879(08)01407-9.


Apoptosome refers to the multimeric protein complex that mediates activation of an initiator caspase at the onset of apoptosis. This chapter describes the assembly of three related apoptosomes from mammals, fruit flies, and worms. The assembly of the mammalian apoptosome, which is responsible for the activation of caspase-9, involves Apaf-1 and requires cytochrome c and ATP/dATP binding. Assembly of the apoptosome in Drosophila melanogaster, which activates caspase-9 homologue Dronc, involves the Apaf-1 homologue known as Dark/Hac-1/Dapaf-1. In Caenorhabditis elegans, assembly of the CED-4 apoptosome requires EGL-1-mediated dissociation of CED-9 (a Bcl-2 homologue) from the CED-4-CED-9 complex and subsequent oligomerization of CED-4. Recent biochemical and structural investigation revealed insights into the assembly and function of the various apoptosomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Apoptosomes / metabolism*
  • Apoptotic Protease-Activating Factor 1 / metabolism
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins / metabolism
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Caspase 9 / metabolism
  • Cytochromes c / metabolism
  • Deoxyadenine Nucleotides / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Protein Binding
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism


  • Apoptosomes
  • Apoptotic Protease-Activating Factor 1
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Ced-4 protein, C elegans
  • Ced-9 protein, C elegans
  • Deoxyadenine Nucleotides
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Cytochromes c
  • Caspase 9
  • 2'-deoxyadenosine triphosphate