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EMBO J. 1996 Jun 3;15(11):2685-94.

A conserved family of cellular genes related to the baculovirus iap gene and encoding apoptosis inhibitors.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


The baculovirus inhibitor of apoptosis gene, iap, can impede cell death in insect cells. Here we show that iap can also prevent cell death in mammalian cells. The ability of iap to regulate programmed cell death in widely divergent species raised the possibility that cellular homologs of iap might exist. Consistent with this hypothesis, we have isolated Drosophila and human genes which encode IAP-like proteins (dILP and hILP). Like IAP, both dILP and hILP contain amino-terminal baculovirus IAP repeats (BIRs) and carboxy-terminal RING finger domains. Human ilp encodes a widely expressed cytoplasmic protein that can suppress apoptosis in transfected cells. An analysis of the expressed sequence tag database suggests that hilp is one of several human genes related to iap. Together these data suggest that iap and related cellular genes play an evolutionarily conserved role in the regulation of apoptosis.

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