Table of Contents
Molecular Biology International
Volume 2012, Article ID 536802, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/536802
Review Article

Modulator of Apoptosis 1: A Highly Regulated RASSF1A-Interacting BH3-Like Protein

1Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, 3055 Katz Group Centre for Pharmacy and Health Research, 113 Street 87 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada T6G 2E1
2Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore, 18 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543

Received 3 February 2012; Revised 29 March 2012; Accepted 3 April 2012

Academic Editor: Dae-Sik Lim

Copyright © 2012 Jennifer Law et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Modulator of apoptosis 1 (MOAP-1) is a BH3-like protein that plays key roles in both the intrinsic and extrinsic modes of cell death or apoptosis. MOAP-1 is part of the Ras association domain family 1A (RASSF1A)/MOAP-1 pro-apoptotic extrinsic signaling pathway that regulates apoptosis by utilizing death receptors such as tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) or TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) to inhibit abnormal growth. RASSF1A is a bona fide tumor suppressor gene that is epigenetically silenced by promoter-specific methylation in numerous human cancers. MOAP-1 is a downstream effector of RASSF1A that promotes Bax activation and cell death and is highly regulated during apoptosis. We speculate that MOAP-1 and RASSF1A are important elements of an “apoptotic checkpoint” that directly influences the outcome of cell death. The failure to regulate this pro-apoptotic pathway may result in the appearance of cancer and possibly other disorders. Although loss of RASSF1A expression is frequently observed in human cancers, it is currently unknown if MOAP-1 expression may also be affected during carcinogenesis to result in uncontrolled malignant growth. In this article, we will summarize what is known about the biological role(s) of MOAP-1 and how it functions as a downstream effector to RASSF1A.