Two kinds of BIR-containing protein - Inhibitors of apoptosis, or required for mitosis Academic Article uri icon


  • The baculoviral IAP repeat (BIR) is a zinc-binding fold. Some BIR-containing proteins (BIRCs), including several from insect viruses, insects and vertebrates, are inhibitors of cell death and act by binding to active caspases. Their ability to do so can be antagonized by pro-apoptotic insect proteins such as Grim, HID and Reaper, or the mammalian protein Diablo/Smac. Members of one structurally distinct subgroup of BIR-containing proteins, which are present in yeasts and Caenorhabditis elegans as well as insects and vertebrates, do not act as caspase inhibitors; instead, they are required for chromosome segregation and cytokinesis, and act in concert with inner centromere protein (INCENP) homologues and aurora kinase homologues.

publication date

  • June 23, 2001