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Pathway Description:

Cell survival requires the active inhibition of apoptosis, which is accomplished by inhibiting the expression of pro-apoptotic factors as well as promoting the expression of anti-apoptotic factors. The PI3K pathway, activated by many survival factors, leads to the activation of Akt, an important player in survival signaling. PTEN negatively regulates the PI3K/Akt pathway. Activated Akt phosphorylates and inhibits the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members Bad, Bax, caspase-9, GSK-3, and FoxO1. Many growth factors and cytokines induce anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members. The Jaks and Src phosphorylate and activate Stat3, which in turn induces the expression of Bcl-xL and Bcl-2. Erk1/2 and PKC activate p90RSK, which activates CREB and induces the expression of Bcl-xL and Bcl-2. These Bcl-2 family members protect the integrity of mitochondria, preventing cytochrome c release and the subsequent activation of caspase-9. TNF-α may activate both pro-apoptotic and anti-apoptotic pathways; TNF-α can induce apoptosis by activating caspase-8 and -10, but can also inhibit apoptosis via NF-κB, which induces the expression of anti-apoptotic genes such as Bcl-2. cIAP1/2 inhibit TNF-α signaling by binding to TRAF2. FLIP inhibits the activation of caspase-8.

Selected Reviews:

We would like to thank Prof. Junying Yuan, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, for reviewing this diagram.

created September 2008

revised November 2012