Apoptosis is related to many diseases and induced by a family of cell death receptors and their ligands. Cell death signals are transduced by death domain containing adapter molecules and members of the caspase family of proteases. A novel member in the caspase family was recently identified and designated ICE-LAP6, Mch6, and Apaf-3 (1-3). Caspase-9 and Apaf-1 bind to each other, which leads to caspase-9 activation (3). Caspase-9 is also activated by granzyme B and CPP32 (1,2). Activated caspase-9 cleaves and activates caspase-3 that is one of the key proteases, being responsible for the proteolytic cleavage of many key proteins in apoptosis (3). Caspase-9 play a central role in cell death induced by a wide variety of apoptosis activators including TNF , TRAIL, anti-CD-95, FADD, and TRADD (4). Caspase-9 is expressed in a variety of human tissues (1,2).
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