Author(s): Du C, Fang M, Li Y, Li L, Wang X
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Abstract We report here the identification of a novel protein, Smac, which promotes caspase activation in the cytochrome c/Apaf-1/caspase-9 pathway. Smac promotes caspase-9 activation by binding to inhibitor of apoptosis proteins, IAPs, and removing their inhibitory activity. Smac is normally a mitochondrial protein but is released into the cytosol when cells undergo apoptosis. Mitochondrial import and cleavage of its signal peptide are required for Smac to gain its apoptotic activity. Overexpression of Smac increases cells' sensitivity to apoptotic stimuli. Smac is the second mitochondrial protein, along with cytochrome c, that promotes apoptosis by activating caspases.
This article was published in Cell
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology