The death receptor Fas is a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor family; upon interaction with its ligand it efficiently activates caspases and induces apoptosis. Despite abundant Fas surface expression, however, Fas death-signals are frequently interrupted. Many viruses express antiapoptotic proteins, including caspase inhibitors, Bcl-2 homologues and death-effector-domain-containing proteins that are termed FLIPs (FLICE [Fas-associated death-domain-like IL-1beta-converting enzyme]-inhibitory proteins). Cellular homologues of these inhibitors have been identified. Cellular FLIPs structurally resemble caspase-8 except that they lack proteolytic activity. FLIPs are highly expressed in tumor cells, T lymphocytes and healthy, but not injured, myocytes; this suggests a critical role of FLIPs as endogenous modulators of apoptosis.