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Apoptotic regulation is critical to organismal homeostasis and protection against many human disease processes such as cancer. Significant research efforts over the past several decades have illuminated many signaling molecules and effecter proteins responsible for this form of programmed cell death. Recent evidence suggests that transfer RNA (tRNA) regulates apoptotic sensitivity at the level of cytochrome c-mediated apoptosome formation. This finding unexpectedly places tRNA at the nexus of cellular biosynthesis and survival. Here we review the current understanding of both the apoptotic machinery and tRNA biology. We describe the evidence linking tRNA and cytochrome c in depth, and speculate on the implications of this link in cell biology.