Apoptosis involves the cessation of cellular processes, the breakdown of intracellular organelles, and, finally, the nonphlogistic clearance of apoptotic cells from the body. Important for these events is a family of proteases, caspases, which are activated by a proteolytic cleavage cascade and drive apoptosis by targeting key proteins within the cell. Here, we demonstrate that serum response factor (SRF), a transcription factor essential for proliferative gene expression, is cleaved by caspases and that this cleavage occurs in proliferating murine fibroblasts and can be induced in the human B-cell line BJAB. We identify the two major sites at which SRF cleavage occurs as Asp245 and Asp254, the caspases responsible for the cleavage and generate a mutant of SRF resistant to cleavage in BJAB cells. Investigation of the physiological and functional significance of SRF cleavage reveals that it correlates with the loss of e-fos expression, whereby neither SRF cleavage fragment retains transcriptional activity. Moreover, the expression of a noncleavable SRF in BJAB cells suppresses apoptosis induced by Fas cross-linking. These results suggest that for apoptosis to proceed, the transcriptional events promoting cell survival and proliferation, in which SRF is involved, must first be inactivated.