The baker's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is also capable of undergoing programmed cell death or apoptosis, for example in response to viral infection as well as during chronological and replicative aging. Intrinsically, programmed cell death in yeast can be induced by, for example, H2O2, acetic acid or the mating-type pheromone. A number of evolutionarily conserved apoptosis-regulatory proteins have been identified in yeast, one of which is the HtrA (high-temperature requirement A)-like serine protease Nma111p (Nma is nuclear mediator of apoptosis). Nma111p is a nuclear serine protease of the HtrA family, which targets Bir1p, the only known inhibitor-of-apoptosis protein in yeast. Nma111p mediates apoptosis in a serine-protease-dependent manner and exhibits its activity exclusively in the nucleus. How the activity of Nma111p is regulated has remained largely elusive, but some evidence points to a control by phosphorylation. Current knowledge of Nma111p's function in apoptosis will be discussed in the present review.

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