The inhibitors of apoptosis (IAPs) suppress apoptosis through the inhibition of the caspase cascade and thus are key proteins in the control of cell death. Here we have isolated the protein XIAP-associated factor 1 (XAF1) on the basis of its ability to bind XIAP, a member of the IAP family. XIAP suppresses caspase activation and cell death in vitro, and XAF1 antagonizes these XIAP activities. Expression of XAF1 triggers a redistribution of XIAP from the cytosol to the nucleus. XAF1 is ubiquitously expressed in normal tissues, but is present at low or undetectable levels in many different cancer cell lines. Loss of control over apoptotic signalling is now recognized as a critical event in the development of cancer. Our results indicate that XAF1 may be important in mediating the apoptosis resistance of cancer cells.
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