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Structure of Apaf-1, PDB 2P1H

Apaf-1 (apoptotic protease activating factor 1) is a cytosolic protein involved in cell death or apoptosis. When Cytochrome c is released from the mitochondria, it interacts with Apaf-1 and dATP to form the apoptosome, a large oligomeric protein complex which can activate caspase 9.

The crystal structure of this protein was solved in April of 2005 by the laboratory of Yigong Shi[1]. It contains a Greek Key Motif composed of six helices and 94 amino acids.

The actual mechanism for this reaction is still debated though work published in April of 2006 from the laboratory of Guy Salvesen suggests that the apoptosome may induce caspase 9 dimerization and subsequent autocatalyzation [2].