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Sci. STKE, 8 August 2000
Vol. 2000, Issue 44, p. pe1
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.44.pe1]


The IAP Proteins: Caspase Inhibitors and Beyond

Bettina W. M. Richter and Colin S. Duckett

The authors are at the Metabolism Branch, Division of Clinical Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, 10 Center Drive, Bethesda, MD 20892-1578, USA. E-mail: duckettc{at}

Abstract: Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, occurs as an outcome of signals that direct cells to perish. Whether initiated by specifically activated receptors or induced through viral infection, apoptosis is an important means by which organisms maintain health and homeostasis. The apoptotic pathway uses several regulatory proteins that prevent uncontrolled cell death, which would be detrimental to the organism. Richter and Duckett review the recently discovered and characterized inhibitors of apoptosis proteins (IAPs). Not surprisingly, IAPs were first identified in viruses that were able to subvert apoptosis in infected cells. Evidence exists suggesting that, in addition to inhibiting apoptosis, IAPs are involved in signal transduction and cell cycle regulation. Richter and Duckett also review other recent observations indicating that some IAPs may have roles in protein ubiquitination. Although the various roles of the IAPs are beginning to be uncovered, new questions arise about the breadth of their functions and the proteins to which IAPs bind.

Citation: B. W. M. Richter, C. S. Duckett, The IAP Proteins: Caspase Inhibitors and Beyond. Sci. STKE 2000, pe1 (2000).

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Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882