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Home >> Signaling Pathways >> Apoptosis


As one of the cellular death mechanisms, apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death, can be defined as the process of a proper death of any cell under certain or necessary conditions. Apoptosis is controlled by the interactions between several molecules and responsible for the elimination of unwanted cells from the body.

Many biochemical events and a series of morphological changes occur at the early stage and increasingly continue till the end of apoptosis process. Morphological event cascade including cytoplasmic filament aggregation, nuclear condensation, cellular fragmentation, and plasma membrane blebbing finally results in the formation of apoptotic bodies. Several biochemical changes such as protein modifications/degradations, DNA and chromatin deteriorations, and synthesis of cell surface markers form morphological process during apoptosis.

Apoptosis can be stimulated by two different pathways: (1) intrinsic pathway (or mitochondria pathway) that mainly occurs via release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria and (2) extrinsic pathway when Fas death receptor is activated by a signal coming from the outside of the cell.

Different gene families such as caspases, inhibitor of apoptosis proteins, B cell lymphoma (Bcl)-2 family, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor gene superfamily, or p53 gene are involved and/or collaborate in the process of apoptosis.

Caspase family comprises conserved cysteine aspartic-specific proteases, and members of caspase family are considerably crucial in the regulation of apoptosis. There are 14 different caspases in mammals, and they are basically classified as the initiators including caspase-2, -8, -9, and -10; and the effectors including caspase-3, -6, -7, and -14; and also the cytokine activators including caspase-1, -4, -5, -11, -12, and -13. In vertebrates, caspase-dependent apoptosis occurs through two main interconnected pathways which are intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. The intrinsic or mitochondrial apoptosis pathway can be activated through various cellular stresses that lead to cytochrome c release from the mitochondria and the formation of the apoptosome, comprised of APAF1, cytochrome c, ATP, and caspase-9, resulting in the activation of caspase-9. Active caspase-9 then initiates apoptosis by cleaving and thereby activating executioner caspases. The extrinsic apoptosis pathway is activated through the binding of a ligand to a death receptor, which in turn leads, with the help of the adapter proteins (FADD/TRADD), to recruitment, dimerization, and activation of caspase-8 (or 10). Active caspase-8 (or 10) then either initiates apoptosis directly by cleaving and thereby activating executioner caspase (-3, -6, -7), or activates the intrinsic apoptotic pathway through cleavage of BID to induce efficient cell death. In a heat shock-induced death, caspase-2 induces apoptosis via cleavage of Bid.

Bcl-2 family members are divided into three subfamilies including (i) pro-survival subfamily members (Bcl-2, Bcl-xl, Bcl-W, MCL1, and BFL1/A1), (ii) BH3-only subfamily members (Bad, Bim, Noxa, and Puma9), and (iii) pro-apoptotic mediator subfamily members (Bax and Bak). Following activation of the intrinsic pathway by cellular stress, pro‑apoptotic BCL‑2 homology 3 (BH3)‑only proteins inhibit the anti‑apoptotic proteins Bcl‑2, Bcl-xl, Bcl‑W and MCL1. The subsequent activation and oligomerization of the Bak and Bax result in mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP). This results in the release of cytochrome c and SMAC from the mitochondria. Cytochrome c forms a complex with caspase-9 and APAF1, which leads to the activation of caspase-9. Caspase-9 then activates caspase-3 and caspase-7, resulting in cell death. Inhibition of this process by anti‑apoptotic Bcl‑2 proteins occurs via sequestration of pro‑apoptotic proteins through binding to their BH3 motifs.

One of the most important ways of triggering apoptosis is mediated through death receptors (DRs), which are classified in TNF superfamily. There exist six DRs: DR1 (also called TNFR1); DR2 (also called Fas); DR3, to which VEGI binds; DR4 and DR5, to which TRAIL binds; and DR6, no ligand has yet been identified that binds to DR6. The induction of apoptosis by TNF ligands is initiated by binding to their specific DRs, such as TNFα/TNFR1, FasL /Fas (CD95, DR2), TRAIL (Apo2L)/DR4 (TRAIL-R1) or DR5 (TRAIL-R2). When TNF-α binds to TNFR1, it recruits a protein called TNFR-associated death domain (TRADD) through its death domain (DD). TRADD then recruits a protein called Fas-associated protein with death domain (FADD), which then sequentially activates caspase-8 and caspase-3, and thus apoptosis. Alternatively, TNF-α can activate mitochondria to sequentially release ROS, cytochrome c, and Bax, leading to activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3 and thus apoptosis. Some of the miRNAs can inhibit apoptosis by targeting the death-receptor pathway including miR-21, miR-24, and miR-200c.

p53 has the ability to activate intrinsic and extrinsic pathways of apoptosis by inducing transcription of several proteins like Puma, Bid, Bax, TRAIL-R2, and CD95.

Some inhibitors of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) can inhibit apoptosis indirectly (such as cIAP1/BIRC2, cIAP2/BIRC3) or inhibit caspase directly, such as XIAP/BIRC4 (inhibits caspase-3, -7, -9), and Bruce/BIRC6 (inhibits caspase-3, -6, -7, -8, -9). 

Any alterations or abnormalities occurring in apoptotic processes contribute to development of human diseases and malignancies especially cancer.



1.Yağmur Kiraz, Aysun Adan, Melis Kartal Yandim, et al. Major apoptotic mechanisms and genes involved in apoptosis[J]. Tumor Biology, 2016, 37(7):8471.

2.Aggarwal B B, Gupta S C, Kim J H. Historical perspectives on tumor necrosis factor and its superfamily: 25 years later, a golden journey.[J]. Blood, 2012, 119(3):651.

3.Ashkenazi A, Fairbrother W J, Leverson J D, et al. From basic apoptosis discoveries to advanced selective BCL-2 family inhibitors[J]. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 2017.

4.McIlwain D R, Berger T, Mak T W. Caspase functions in cell death and disease[J]. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology, 2013, 5(4): a008656.

5.Ola M S, Nawaz M, Ahsan H. Role of Bcl-2 family proteins and caspases in the regulation of apoptosis[J]. Molecular and cellular biochemistry, 2011, 351(1-2): 41-58.

Products for  Apoptosis

Research Area

  1. Cat.No. Product Name Information
  2. A3523 Kaempferol Apoptosis inducer;antioxidant;flavonoid
  3. B6023 PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitor 2 PD-1/PD-L1 interaction inhibitor
  4. A1902 Z-VAD-FMK Cell-permeable, irreversible pan-caspase inhibitor
  5. A9901 Caspase Inhibitor Set I Caspase Inhibitors
  6. A1925 Caspase-3/7 Inhibitor I Top Seller Caspase-3/7 inhibitor
  7. A1901 Q-VD-OPh hydrate Top Seller Cell-permeable, irreversible pan-caspase inhibitor
  8. C5667 Se-Aspirin nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug
  9. C4981 Z-Asp-CH2-DCB caspase inhibitor
  10. C5528 Ac-DEVD-CMK cell-permeable, and irreversible inhibitor of caspase
  11. C5524 Ac-DEVD-AFC fluorogenic substrate for activated caspase-3
  12. C4468 NS3694 inhibits apoptosome formation and caspase activation
  13. A8955 Z-YVAD-FMK Caspase-1 inhibitor
  14. A8238 VX-765 Caspase-1 inhibitor,potent and selective
  15. A1923 Z-VEID-FMK Top Seller Caspase-6 inhibitor
  16. A1922 Z-VDVAD-FMK Top Seller Caspase-2 inhibitor
  17. A1921 Z-DQMD-FMK Top Seller Caspase-3 inhibitor,cell-permeable
  18. A1920 Z-DEVD-FMK Top Seller Caspase-3 inhibitor
  19. A8165 Q-VD(OMe)-OPh Top Seller Pan-caspase inhibitor
  20. A8177 PAC-1 Top Seller Procaspase-3 activator
  21. B3232 Z-IETD-FMK Caspase-8 inhibitor
  22. A1930 Apoptosis Inhibitor Top Seller Associate with caspase-3 inhibition
  23. B3233 Z-LEHD-FMK Irreversible Caspase-9 inhibitor.
  24. A1924 Z-WEHD-FMK Caspase 5 inhibitor,potent,cell-permeable and irreversible
  25. A1904 Boc-D-FMK Pan-caspase inhibitor
  26. A8321 Cisplatin Top Seller Inhibits DNA synthesis,chemotherapy drug
  27. A4418 Ac-IEPD-AFC Recognition motif for serine protease granzyme B
  28. A3424 Gambogic Acid Caspase activator and apoptosis inducer
  29. A4016 Apoptosis Activator 2 Indoledione caspase activator, cell-permeable
  30. A8170 Z-FA-FMK Top Seller Cysteine proteases inhibitor
  31. A4419 Ac-LEHD-AFC Fluorogenic caspase substrate
  32. A4416 AZ 10417808 Caspase-3 inhibitor,selective non-peptide
  33. A4417 Ivachtin Caspase-3 inhibitor
  34. A4420 PETCM Caspase-3 activator
  35. B4618 Emricasan potent irreversible pan-caspase inhibitor
  36. A4446 R18 14.3.3 proteins Antagonist
  37. B4782 Epibrassinolide Potential apoptosis inducer;steroidal plant growth stimulant
  38. A3327 Costunolide Apoptosis inducer
  39. A4234 TW-37 Top Seller Bcl-2 inhibitor, inhibits Bcl-2,Bcl-XL and Mcl-1
  40. C5685 7BIO caspase independent nonapoptotic cell death inducer
  41. C5565 F16 potential antitumor agent
  42. C5358 ML-291 apoptosis inducer
  43. C4403 (±)-Jasmonic Acid methyl ester suppresses proliferation and induces apoptosis
  44. C4698 15-acetoxy Scirpenol mycotoxin that induce apoptotic cell death
  45. C4423 Destruxin B insecticidal and phytotoxic activity;induces apoptosis
  46. C3528 Citrinin mycotoxin that induces apoptosis and blocks tubulin polymerization as well as mitotic spindle assembly
  47. C4962 Psoralidin apoptosis inducer
  48. B7760 CFM 4 Interferes with CARP-1 binding to APC-2
  49. A8176 Apicidin Potent HDAC inhibitor
  50. N1719 Kaempferol Apoptosis inducer;antioxidant;flavonoid
  51. A4188 2-Methoxyestradiol (2-MeOE2) Apoptotic, antiproliferative and antiangiogenic agent
  52. A3218 BAM7 BAX activator,direct and selective
  53. A3237 Betulinic acid Anti-HIV and antitumor compound,pentacyclic triterpenoid
  54. A4452 Mitomycin C Inhibits DNA synthesis,antibiotic and antitumor agent
  55. A4453 NSC 687852 (b-AP15) 19S regulatory particle Inhibitor
  56. A8244 Cycloheximide Antibiotic,inhibiter of protein synthesis in eukaryotes
  57. A1984 Bendamustine HCl Cytostatic agent for non-Hodgkin lymphomas
  58. C3296 MPI-0441138 inducer of apoptosis and growth inhibition
  59. A3118 3,3'-Diindolylmethane Anticancer and antineoplastic agent
  60. A3265 Brassinolide Plant growth regulator
  61. A3278 Capsaicin TRPV1 receptor agonist
  62. A3335 Curcumin Tyrosinase inhibitor
  63. A3583 Matrine Alkaloid found in Sophora plant
  64. A3746 R1530 Antiangiogenesis,mitosis-angiogenesis inhibitor (MAI)
  65. A3826 SMIP004 Apoptosis inducer
  66. A3886 Trabectedin Antitumour agent
  67. A4448 Actinomycin D RNA polymerase inhibitor
  68. B3255 Meisoindigo Apoptosis inducer;potential agent for AML
  69. B1228 PM00104 Potent antimyeloma agent
  70. B4760 Raltegravir potassium salt HIV integrase inhibitor
  71. A4447 2,3-DCPE hydrochloride Bcl-XL protein expression downregulator
  72. A4449 C 75 Fatty acid synthase (FAS) inhibitor
  73. A4450 CHM 1 Tubulin polymerization inhibitor
  74. A8188 Atractyloside Dipotassium Salt AAT inhibitor
  75. A4451 Deguelin Anticancer and antiviral agent
  76. A4454 Oncrasin 1 Proapoptotic agent
  77. A4457 Streptozocin Antibiotic and antitumor agent
  78. A4455 Piperlongumine Inducer of cell-death
  79. A4456 Plumbagin Anticancer agent
  80. A4483 PRIMA-1 Top Seller BAX inhibitor
  81. A4459 Bax channel blocker Inhibitor of Bax-mediated mitochondrial cytochrome c release
  82. A4484 PRIMA-1MET Top Seller Restore mutant p53 activity, induce BAX and PUMA
  83. A4460 Bax inhibitor peptide P5 Bax inhibitor
  84. A4461 Bax inhibitor peptide V5 Bax inhibitor
  85. A4462 Bax inhibitor peptide, negative control Peptide inhibit Bax translocation to mitochondria
  86. A3935 WEHI-539 Bcl-xL inhibitor,potent and selective
  87. B5978 BDA-366 Selective antagonist of BCL2 BH4 domain
  88. B6011 A-1210477 MCL-1 inhibitor
  89. A8737 S63845 MCL1 inhibitor
  90. B6094 BH3I-1 Bcl-2 or Bcl-XL inhibitor
  91. B5846 Radotinib(IY-5511) Bcr-Abl tyrosine kinase inhibitor
  92. B4902 (+)-Apogossypol inhibitor of Bcl-2 family proteins
  93. A8194 ABT-199 Bcl-2 inhibitor,potent and selective
  94. A8193 ABT-737 Top Seller Bcl-2 inhibitor
  95. A3007 ABT-263 (Navitoclax) Potent Bcl-2 family inhibitor, inhibits Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Bcl-w
  96. A9902 Bcl Family Set I Bcl family inhibitors
  97. B4901 Pyridoclax Mcl-1 inhibitor
  98. B4881 UMI-77 Mcl-1 inhibitor, novel
  99. A4194 Obatoclax mesylate (GX15-070) Potent Bcl-2 inhibitor
  100. A8168 HA14-1 Top Seller Bcl-2 inhibitor,potent and cell-permeable
  101. B1080 Marinopyrrole A Selective Mcl-1 inhibitor
  102. A4199 Sabutoclax pan-Bcl-2 inhibitor
  103. A4198 BM-1074 Bcl-2/Bcl-xL inhibitor,potent and selective
  104. A4200 Apogossypolone (ApoG2) Bcl-2 inhibitor,nonpeptidic small molecule
  105. A4463 BIM, Biotinylated Bim peptide fragment with a biotin moiety attached
  106. A4464 iMAC2 MAC inhibitor
  107. A4465 MIM1 Mcl-1 Inhibitor
  108. A4466 Muristerone A TRAIL- and hFasL-induced apoptosis inhibitor
  109. N2135 Gossypol PAF inhibitor;anti-fertility and anti-cancer
  110. A3196 AT-101 BH3-mimetic,gossypol enantiomer
  111. B4691 Mcl1-IN-1 Myeloid cell factor 1 inhibitor
  112. A8634 WEHI-539 hydrochloride Bcl-xL inhibitor,high affinity and selective
  113. B6163 A-1155463 BCL-XL inhibitor, potent and selective
  114. B6164 A-1331852 BCL-XL inhibitor, potent and selective
  115. A3847 SU5416 VEGF receptor inhibitor and AHR agonist
  116. A4237 Amuvatinib (MP-470, HPK 56) Top Seller Tyrosine kinase inhibitor
  117. A4116 Danusertib (PHA-739358) Top Seller Pan-aurora kinase inhibitor
  118. A4145 TG101209 Top Seller JAK2/3 inhibitor
  119. C4239 RPI-1 ATP-dependent RET kinase inhibitor
  120. C3080 AD57 (hydrochloride) polypharmacological cancer therapeutic that inhibits RET.
  121. A8236 Regorafenib Top Seller Inhibitor of VEGFR/PDGFR/FGFR/mutant kit/RET/Raf-1
  122. A3751 Regorafenib monohydrate Tyrosine kinase inhibitor
  123. A3750 Regorafenib hydrochloride Tyrosine kinase inhibitor
  124. A3891 Triptolide IL-2/MMP-3/MMP7/MMP19 inhibitor
  125. A4221 YM155 Survivin suppressant,apoptosis inhibitor
  126. A4219 Birinapant (TL32711) Potent XIAP/cIAP1 antagonist
  127. A3019 AT-406 (SM-406) IAP inhibitor
  128. A8815 SM-164 Anticancer agent
  129. A8235 Embelin XIAP inhibitor,cell-permeable
  130. A4224 GDC-0152 IAP antagonist,potent amd samll-molecule
  131. A3541 LCL161 Antagonist of IAPs inhibitor
  132. B4653 BV6 Selective inhibitor of IAP proteins
  133. N2285 Dimethylfraxetin Extracted from Fraxinus chinensis;Store the product in sealed, cool and dry condition.
  134. A3220 Bardoxolone Once-a-day treatment for CKD
  135. C4733 Sulforaphane inducer of chemopreventative enzymes via Keap1-Nrf2 signaling
  136. C5715 NK 252 Nrf2 activator
  137. C4354 CDDO-TFEA Nrf2 activator
  138. C3234 2-HBA indirect inducer of enzymes that catalyze detoxification reactions through the Keap1-Nrf2-ARE pathway.
  139. N2172 5,7-dihydroxychromone Nrf2/ARE signal activator and PPARγ agonist
  140. B1931 Dimethyl Fumarate nuclear factor (erythroid-derived)-like 2 (Nrf2) pathway activator
  141. B3576 Omaveloxolone (RTA-408) Nrf2 activator
  142. B3577 CDDO-EA activator of Nrf2/ARE
  143. A4204 JNJ-26854165 (Serdemetan) Top Seller P53 activator, blocking Mdm2-p53 interaction
  144. A2005 Nutlin-3b MDM2/p53 inhibitor
  145. C4120 SP 141 Mdm2 inhibitor
  146. B6058 (±)-Nutlin-3 MDM2 antagonist, potent and selective
  147. B4984 MI-773 (SAR405838) orally available MDM2 antagonist
  148. B4813 Pifithrin-β potent p53 inhibitor
  149. A9903 p53/MDM2 Set I For inhibiting MDM2-p53 interaction
  150. A4202 RITA (NSC 652287) Mdm2-p53 interaction and p53 ubiquitination blocking
  151. A3762 RG7112 MDM2 inhibitor, first clinical
  152. A3763 RG7388 MDM2 antagonist, oral, selective
  153. A3693 p53 and MDM2 proteins-interaction-inhibitor chiral P53 and MDM2 proteins-interaction-inhibitor
  154. A3694 p53 and MDM2 proteins-interaction-inhibitor racemic P53 and MDM2 proteins-interaction-inhibitor
  155. B4756 YH239-EE p53-MDM2 antagonist, potent
  156. A4230 NSC 66811 MDM2 inhibitor
  157. A4209 NSC 207895 (XI-006) MDMX inhibitor,anti-cancer agent
  158. A4228 Nutlin-3 Top Seller MDM2 antagonist,inhibits MDM2-p53 interaction
  159. A4206 Pifithrin-α (PFTα) p53 inhibitor
  160. C3846 p-nitro-Pifithrin-α inactivator of p53
  161. C4483 COTI-2 activates mutant forms of p53
  162. C4840 GN25 p53-Snail binding Inhibitor
  163. C5104 p-nitro-Cyclic Pifithrin-α inactivator of p53
  164. C3192 CBL0137 (hydrochloride) curaxin that activates p53 and inhibits NF-κB
  165. C3171 CBL0137 curaxin that activates p53 and inhibits NF-κB
  166. B6198 ReACp53 inhibit p53 amyloid formation
  167. B6190 NSC348884 nucleophosmin inhibitor
  168. B6045 NSC59984 Restores the p53 signaling pathway
  169. A8724 ONC201 activates p53-independent apoptosis
  170. A8567 Tenovin-3 Top Seller p53 activator
  171. A3671 Nutlin-3a chiral Top Seller MDM2 inhibitor, antiproliferative and antiproapoptotic
  172. A4486 SJ 172550 MDMX inhibitor
  173. A4203 Tenovin-1 Top Seller SIRT2 inhibitor, activates p53
  174. A4482 Pifithrin-μ Inhibitor of p53 binding and anti-apoptotic
  175. A4477 Cyclic Pifithrin-α hydrobromide P53 inhibitor
  176. A1094 tumor protein p53 binding protein fragment [Homo sapiens]/[Mus musculus] P53 binding protein fragment
  177. A1083 p53 tumor suppressor fragment Regulates cell cycle
  178. A4476 CP 31398 dihydrochloride p53 stabilizer
  179. A4478 HLI 373 Hdm2 ubiquitin ligase (E3) inhibitor
  180. A4208 NSC 319726 Reactivator of mutant p53
  181. A8804 AMG232 p53-MDM2 inhibitor, novel
  182. A4479 MIRA-1 Restorer of wild-type p53 conformation/cellular function
  183. A4480 NSC 146109 hydrochloride Antitumor agent,p53-dependent transcription activator
  184. A4481 PhiKan 083 p53 stabilizer
  185. A4485 RETRA hydrochloride Antitumor agent
  186. A4487 WR 1065 P53/p21waf-1/MDM2 activator
  187. B4677 NVP-CGM097 potent and selective MDM2 inhibitor
  188. B9013 U 73343 negative control of U-73122 for PLC inhibition
  189. B3422 U-73122 inhibitor of phospholipase C, phospholipase A2, and 5-LO (5-lipoxygenase)
  190. A3343 D609 PC-PLC inhibitor
  191. A3833 SPK-601 Potent PC-PLC inhibitor,antimicrobial agent
  192. B9005 RHC 80267 diacylglycerol lipase inhibitor
  193. A3524 kb NB 142-70 Inhibitor of protein kinase D,selective
  194. A8223 CID 2011756 Top Seller PKD inhibitor
  195. A8678 CID 755673 PKD inhibitor
  196. A8679 CRT 0066101 PKD inhibitor
  197. C4165 CRT5 PKD1, PKD2, and PKD3 inhibitor
  198. A3787 Salirasib Inhibitor of active Ras protein
  199. A3947 YM-155 hydrochloride Potent survivin inhibitor
  200. A4390 Pemetrexed Top Seller TS, DHFR,GARFT and AICARFT inhibitor
  201. A8542 Triflurdine (Viroptic) Anti-herpesvirus antiviral drug

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