Fas receptor

Last updated
Protein FAS PDB 1ddf.png
Available structures
PDB Ortholog search: PDBe RCSB
Aliases FAS , ALPS1A, APO-1, APT1, CD95, FAS1, FASTM, TNFRSF6, Fas cell surface death receptor
External IDs MGI: 95484 HomoloGene: 27 GeneCards: FAS
Gene location (Human)
Ideogram human chromosome 10.svg
Chr. Chromosome 10 (human) [1]
Human chromosome 10 ideogram.svg
HSR 1996 II 3.5e.svg
Red rectangle 2x18.png
Band 10q23.31Start88,990,582 bp [1]
End89,015,785 bp [1]
RNA expression pattern
PBB GE FAS 204780 s at fs.png

PBB GE FAS 204781 s at fs.png

PBB GE FAS 215719 x at fs.png
More reference expression data
RefSeq (mRNA)


RefSeq (protein)



Location (UCSC) Chr 10: 88.99 – 89.02 Mb Chr 19: 34.29 – 34.33 Mb
PubMed search [3] [4]
View/Edit Human View/Edit Mouse

Fas or FasR, also known as apoptosis antigen 1 (APO-1 or APT), cluster of differentiation 95 (CD95) or tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 6 (TNFRSF6) is a protein that in humans is encoded by the FAS gene. [5] [6] Fas was first identified using a monoclonal antibody generated by immunizing mice with the FS-7 cell line. Thus, the name Fas is derived from FS-7-associated surface antigen. [7]

The cluster of differentiation is a protocol used for the identification and investigation of cell surface molecules providing targets for immunophenotyping of cells. In terms of physiology, CD molecules can act in numerous ways, often acting as receptors or ligands important to the cell. A signal cascade is usually initiated, altering the behavior of the cell. Some CD proteins do not play a role in cell signaling, but have other functions, such as cell adhesion. CD for humans is numbered up to 371.

Protein biological molecule consisting of chains of amino acid residues

Proteins are large biomolecules, or macromolecules, consisting of one or more long chains of amino acid residues. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within organisms, including catalysing metabolic reactions, DNA replication, responding to stimuli, providing structure to cells and organisms, and transporting molecules from one location to another. Proteins differ from one another primarily in their sequence of amino acids, which is dictated by the nucleotide sequence of their genes, and which usually results in protein folding into a specific three-dimensional structure that determines its activity.

Gene basic physical and functional unit of heredity

In biology, a gene is a sequence of nucleotides in DNA or RNA that codes for a molecule that has a function. During gene expression, the DNA is first copied into RNA. The RNA can be directly functional or be the intermediate template for a protein that performs a function. The transmission of genes to an organism's offspring is the basis of the inheritance of phenotypic trait. These genes make up different DNA sequences called genotypes. Genotypes along with environmental and developmental factors determine what the phenotypes will be. Most biological traits are under the influence of polygenes as well as gene–environment interactions. Some genetic traits are instantly visible, such as eye color or number of limbs, and some are not, such as blood type, risk for specific diseases, or the thousands of basic biochemical processes that constitute life.


The Fas receptor is a death receptor on the surface of cells that leads to programmed cell death (apoptosis). It is one of two apoptosis pathways, the other being the mitochondrial pathway. [8] FasR is located on chromosome 10 in humans and 19 in mice. Similar sequences related by evolution (orthologs) [9] are found in most mammals.

Apoptosis programmed cell death process

Apoptosis is a form of programmed cell death that occurs in multicellular organisms. Biochemical events lead to characteristic cell changes (morphology) and death. These changes include blebbing, cell shrinkage, nuclear fragmentation, chromatin condensation, chromosomal DNA fragmentation, and global mRNA decay. The average adult human loses between 50 and 70 billion cells each day due to apoptosis. For an average human child between the ages of 8 to 14 year old approximately 20 to 30 billion cells die per day.

Chromosome 10 human chromosome

Chromosome 10 is one of the 23 pairs of chromosomes in humans. People normally have two copies of this chromosome. Chromosome 10 spans about 133 million base pairs and represents between 4 and 4.5 percent of the total DNA in cells.


FAS receptor is located on the long arm of chromosome 10 (10q24.1) in humans and on chromosome 19 in mice. The gene lies on the plus (Watson strand) and is 25,255 bases in length organised into nine protein encoding exons.

An exon is any part of a gene that will encode a part of the final mature RNA produced by that gene after introns have been removed by RNA splicing. The term exon refers to both the DNA sequence within a gene and to the corresponding sequence in RNA transcripts. In RNA splicing, introns are removed and exons are covalently joined to one another as part of generating the mature messenger RNA. Just as the entire set of genes for a species constitutes the genome, the entire set of exons constitutes the exome.


Previous reports have identified as many as eight splice variants, which are translated into seven isoforms of the protein. Apoptosis-inducing Fas receptor is dubbed isoform 1 and is a type 1 transmembrane protein. Many of the other isoforms are rare haplotypes that are usually associated with a state of disease. However, two isoforms, the apoptosis-inducing membrane-bound form and the soluble form, are normal products whose production via alternative splicing is regulated by the cytotoxic RNA binding protein TIA1. [10]

Transmembrane protein protein spanning across a biological membrane

A transmembrane protein (TP) is a type of integral membrane protein that spans the entirety of the cell membrane to which it is permanently attached. Many transmembrane proteins function as gateways to permit the transport of specific substances across the membrane. They frequently undergo significant conformational changes to move a substance through the membrane.

Alternative splicing process of gene expression

Alternative splicing, or differential splicing, is a regulated process during gene expression that results in a single gene coding for multiple proteins. In this process, particular exons of a gene may be included within or excluded from the final, processed messenger RNA (mRNA) produced from that gene. Consequently, the proteins translated from alternatively spliced mRNAs will contain differences in their amino acid sequence and, often, in their biological functions. Notably, alternative splicing allows the human genome to direct the synthesis of many more proteins than would be expected from its 20,000 protein-coding genes.

TIA1 is a 3'UTR mRNA binding protein that can bind the 5'TOP sequence of 5'TOP mRNAs. It is associated with programmed cell death (apoptosis) and regulates alternative splicing of the gene encoding the Fas receptor, an apoptosis-promoting protein. Under stress conditions, TIA1 localizes to cellular RNA-protein conglomerations called stress granules.

The mature Fas protein has 319 amino acids, has a predicted molecular weight of 48 kiloDaltons and is divided into 3 domains: an extracellular domain, a transmembrane domain, and a cytoplasmic domain. The extracellular domain has 157 amino acids and is rich in cysteine residues. The transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains have 17 and 145 amino acids respectively. Exons 1 through 5 encode the extracelluar region. Exon 6 encodes the transmembrane region. Exons 7-9 encode the intracellular region.


Fas forms the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) upon ligand binding. Membrane-anchored Fas ligand trimer on the surface of an adjacent cell causes oligomerization of Fas. Recent studies which suggested the trimerization of Fas could not be validated. Other models suggested the oligomerization up to 5-7 Fas molecules in the DISC. [11] This event is also mimicked by binding of an agonistic Fas antibody, though some evidence suggests that the apoptotic signal induced by the antibody is unreliable in the study of Fas signaling. To this end, several clever ways of trimerizing the antibody for in vitro research have been employed.

Death-inducing signaling complex A protein complex formed by the association of signaling proteins with a death receptor upon ligand binding. The complex includes procaspases and death domain-containing proteins in addition to the ligand-bound receptor, and may control the activatio

The death-inducing signaling complex or DISC is a multi-protein complex formed by members of the "death receptor" family of apoptosis-inducing cellular receptors. A typical example is FasR, which forms the DISC upon trimerization as a result of its ligand (FasL) binding. The DISC is composed of the death receptor, FADD, and caspase 8. It transduces a downstream signal cascade resulting in apoptosis.

Fas ligand protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Fas ligand is a type-II transmembrane protein that belongs to the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family. Its binding with its receptor induces apoptosis. Fas ligand/receptor interactions play an important role in the regulation of the immune system and the progression of cancer.

Upon ensuing death domain (DD) aggregation, the receptor complex is internalized via the cellular endosomal machinery. This allows the adaptor molecule FADD to bind the death domain of Fas through its own death domain. [12]

Endosome A vacuole to which materials ingested by endocytosis are delivered.

In cell biology, an endosome is a membrane-bound compartment inside eukaryotic cells. It is a compartment of the endocytic membrane transport pathway originating from the trans Golgi membrane. Molecules or ligands internalized from the plasma membrane can follow this pathway all the way to lysosomes for degradation, or they can be recycled back to the plasma membrane. Molecules are also transported to endosomes from the trans-Golgi network and either continue to lysosomes or recycle back to the Golgi. Endosomes can be classified as early, sorting, or late depending on their stage post internalization. Endosomes represent a major sorting compartment of the endomembrane system in cells. In HeLa cells, endosomes are approximately 500 nm in diameter when fully mature.

Signal transducing adaptor protein

Signal transducing adaptor proteins (STAPs) are proteins that are accessory to main proteins in a signal transduction pathway. Adaptor proteins contain a variety of protein-binding modules that link protein-binding partners together and facilitate the creation of larger signaling complexes. These proteins tend to lack any intrinsic enzymatic activity themselves, instead mediating specific protein–protein interactions that drive the formation of protein complexes. Examples of adaptor proteins include MYD88, Grb2 and SHC1.

FADD protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Fas-associated protein with death domain (FADD), also called MORT1, is encoded by the FADD gene on the 11q13.3 region of chromosome 11 in humans.

FADD also contains a death effector domain (DED) near its amino terminus, [13] which facilitates binding to the DED of FADD-like interleukin-1 beta-converting enzyme (FLICE), more commonly referred to as caspase-8. FLICE can then self-activate through proteolytic cleavage into p10 and p18 subunits, two each of which form the active heterotetramer enzyme. Active caspase-8 is then released from the DISC into the cytosol, where it cleaves other effector caspases, eventually leading to DNA degradation, membrane blebbing, and other hallmarks of apoptosis.

Recently, Fas has also been shown to promote tumor growth, since during tumor progression, it is frequently downregulated or cells are rendered apoptosis resistant. Cancer cells in general, regardless of their Fas apoptosis sensitivity, depend on constitutive activity of Fas. This is stimulated by cancer-produced Fas ligand for optimal growth. [14]

Although Fas has been shown to promote tumor growth in the above mouse models, analysis of the human cancer genomics database revealed that FAS is not significantly focally amplified across a dataset of 3131 tumors (FAS is not an oncogene), but is significantly focally deleted across the entire dataset of these 3131 tumors, [15] suggesting that FAS functions as a tumor suppressor in humans.

In cultured cells, FasL induces various types of cancer cell apoptosis through the Fas receptor. In AOM-DSS-induced colon carcinoma and MCA-induced sarcoma mouse models, it has been shown that Fas acts as a tumor suppressor. [16] Furthermore, the Fas receptor also mediates tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) anti-tumor cytotoxicity. [17]

Role in apoptosis

Some reports have suggested that the extrinsic Fas pathway is sufficient to induce complete apoptosis in certain cell types through DISC assembly and subsequent caspase-8 activation. These cells are dubbed Type 1 cells and are characterized by the inability of anti-apoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family (namely Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL) to protect from Fas-mediated apoptosis. Characterized Type 1 cells include H9, CH1, SKW6.4 and SW480, all of which are lymphocyte lineages except the latter, which is a colon adenocarcinoma lineage. However, evidence for crosstalk between the extrinsic and intrinsic pathways exists in the Fas signal cascade.

In most cell types, caspase-8 catalyzes the cleavage of the pro-apoptotic BH3-only protein Bid into its truncated form, tBid. BH-3 only members of the Bcl-2 family exclusively engage anti-apoptotic members of the family (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL), allowing Bak and Bax to translocate to the outer mitochondrial membrane, thus permeabilizing it and facilitating release of pro-apoptotic proteins such as cytochrome c and Smac/DIABLO, an antagonist of inhibitors of apoptosis proteins (IAPs).

Overview of signal transduction pathways involved in apoptosis. Signal transduction pathways.svg
Overview of signal transduction pathways involved in apoptosis.


Fas receptor has been shown to interact with:

Related Research Articles

Caspase family of cysteine proteases

Caspases are a family of protease enzymes playing essential roles in programmed cell death and inflammation. They are named caspases due to their specific cysteine protease activity – a cysteine in its active site nucleophilically attacks and cleaves a target protein only after an aspartic acid residue. As of 2009, there are 11 or 12 confirmed caspases in humans and 10 in mice, carrying out a variety of cellular functions.

TRAIL protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

In the field of cell biology, TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL), is a protein functioning as a ligand that induces the process of cell death called apoptosis.

Follicular atresia is the breakdown of the ovarian follicles, which consist of an oocyte surrounded by granulosa cells and internal and external theca cells. It occurs continually throughout a woman's life, as she is born with millions of follicles but will only ovulate around 400 times in her lifetime. Typically around 20 follicles mature each month but only a single follicle is ovulated; the follicle from which the oocyte was released becomes the corpus luteum. The rest undergo follicular atresia.

Bcl-2-associated X protein protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Apoptosis regulator BAX, also known as bcl-2-like protein 4, is a protein that in humans is encoded by the BAX gene. BAX is a member of the Bcl-2 gene family. BCL2 family members form hetero- or homodimers and act as anti- or pro-apoptotic regulators that are involved in a wide variety of cellular activities. This protein forms a heterodimer with BCL2, and functions as an apoptotic activator. This protein is reported to interact with, and increase the opening of, the mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC), which leads to the loss in membrane potential and the release of cytochrome c. The expression of this gene is regulated by the tumor suppressor P53 and has been shown to be involved in P53-mediated apoptosis.

BH3 interacting-domain death agonist protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

The BH3 interacting-domain death agonist, or BID, gene is a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 protein family. Bcl-2 family members share one or more of the four characteristic domains of homology entitled the Bcl-2 homology (BH) domains, and can form hetero- or homodimers. Bcl-2 proteins act as anti- or pro-apoptotic regulators that are involved in a wide variety of cellular activities.

Bcl-2-associated death promoter protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

The Bcl-2-associated death promoter (BAD) protein is a pro-apoptotic member of the Bcl-2 gene family which is involved in initiating apoptosis. BAD is a member of the BH3-only family, a subfamily of the Bcl-2 family. It does not contain a C-terminal transmembrane domain for outer mitochondrial membrane and nuclear envelope targeting, unlike most other members of the Bcl-2 family. After activation, it is able to form a heterodimer with anti-apoptotic proteins and prevent them from stopping apoptosis.

Caspase 8 protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Caspase-8 is a caspase protein, encoded by the CASP8 gene. It most likely acts upon caspase-3. CASP8 orthologs have been identified in numerous mammals for which complete genome data are available. These unique orthologs are also present in birds.

TRADD protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Tumor necrosis factor receptor type 1-associated DEATH domain protein is a protein that in humans is encoded by the TRADD gene.

Death receptor 4 protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Death receptor 4 (DR4), also known as TRAIL receptor 1 (TRAILR1) and tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 10A (TNFRSF10A), is a cell surface receptor of the TNF-receptor superfamily that binds TRAIL and mediates apoptosis.

Caspase 10 protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Caspase-10 is an enzyme that, in humans, is encoded by the CASP10 gene.

Death receptor 5 protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Death receptor 5 (DR5), also known as TRAIL receptor 2 (TRAILR2) and tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member 10B (TNFRSF10B), is a cell surface receptor of the TNF-receptor superfamily that binds TRAIL and mediates apoptosis.

Diablo homolog protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Diablo homolog (DIABLO) is a mitochondrial protein that in humans is encoded by the DIABLO gene on chromosome 12. DIABLO is also referred to as second mitochondria-derived activator of caspases or SMAC. This protein binds inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs), thus freeing caspases to activate apoptosis. Due to its proapoptotic function, SMAC is implicated in a broad spectrum of tumors, and small molecule SMAC mimetics have been developed to enhance current cancer treatments.

RIPK1 protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the RIPK1 gene, which is located on chromosome 6. This protein belongs to the Receptor Interacting Protein (RIP) kinases family, which consists of 7 members, RIPK1 being the first member of the family.

SIVA1 protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Apoptosis regulatory protein Siva is a protein that in humans is encoded by the SIVA1 gene. This gene encodes a protein with an important role in the apoptotic pathway induced by the CD27 antigen, a member of the tumor necrosis factor receptor (TFNR) superfamily. The CD27 antigen cytoplasmic tail binds to the N-terminus of this protein. Two alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding distinct proteins have been described.

Death domain InterPro Domain

The death domain (DD) is a protein interaction module composed of a bundle of six alpha-helices. DD is a subclass of protein motif known as the death fold and is related in sequence and structure to the death effector domain (DED) and the caspase recruitment domain (CARD), which work in similar pathways and show similar interaction properties. DD bind each other forming oligomers. Mammals have numerous and diverse DD-containing proteins. Within these proteins, the DD domains can be found in combination with other domains, including: CARDs, DEDs, ankyrin repeats, caspase-like folds, kinase domains, leucine zippers, leucine-rich repeats (LRR), TIR domains, and ZU5 domains.

AICD is programmed cell death caused by the interaction of Fas receptors and Fas ligands. AICD is a negative regulator of activated T lymphocytes that results from repeated stimulation of their T-cell receptors (TCR) and helps to maintain peripheral immune tolerance. Alteration of the process may lead to autoimmune diseases.


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Further reading