Inhibitor of apoptosis proteins in eukaryotic evolution and development: a model of thematic conservation

Dev Cell. 2008 Oct;15(4):497-508. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2008.09.012.


The past decade and a half has witnessed the discovery of a large, evolutionarily conserved family of cellular genes bearing homology to the prototype baculovirus Inhibitor of Apoptosis (IAP). The logical decision in the field to also refer to these cellular proteins as IAPs fails to do justice to this versatile group of factors that play a wide range of roles in eukaryotic development and homeostasis which include, but are not limited to, the regulation of programmed cell death. Here we describe the shared functional characteristics of several well-characterized IAPs whose defining motifs place them more in the category of multifunctional modular protein interaction domains.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins / chemistry
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins / genetics
  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding / genetics
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins
  • Caspases