The human CCR4-NOT deadenylase complex consists of at least nine enzymatic and non-enzymatic subunits. Accumulating evidence suggests that the non-enzymatic subunits are involved in the regulation of mRNA deadenylation, although their precise roles remain to be established. In this study, we addressed the function of the CNOT1 subunit by depleting its expression in HeLa cells. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that the sub G(1) fraction was increased in CNOT1-depleted cells. Virtually, the same level of the sub G1 fraction was seen when cells were treated with a mixture of siRNAs targeted against all enzymatic subunits, suggesting that CNOT1 depletion induces apoptosis by destroying the CCR4-NOT-associated deadenylase activity. Further analysis revealed that CNOT1 depletion leads to a reduction in the amount of other CCR4-NOT subunits. Importantly, the specific activity of the CNOT6L immunoprecipitates-associated deadenylase from CNOT1-depleted cells was less than that from control cells. The formation of P-bodies, where mRNA decay is reported to take place, was largely suppressed in CNOT1-depleted cells. Therefore, CNOT1 has an important role in exhibiting enzymatic activity of the CCR4-NOT complex, and thus is critical in control of mRNA deadenylation and mRNA decay. We further showed that CNOT1 depletion enhanced CHOP mRNA levels and activated caspase-4, which is associated with endoplasmic reticulum ER stress-induced apoptosis. Taken together, CNOT1 depletion structurally and functionally deteriorates the CCR4-NOTcomplex and induces stabilization of mRNAs, which results in the increment of translation causing ER stress-mediated apoptosis. We conclude that CNOT1 contributes to cell viability by securing the activity of the CCR4-NOT deadenylase.