The 14-3-3 proteins constitute a family of conserved proteins present in all eukaryotic organisms so far investigated. These proteins have attracted interest because they are involved in important cellular processes such as signal transduction, cell-cycle control, apoptosis, stress response and malignant transformation and because at least 100 different binding partners for the 14-3-3 proteins have been reported. Although the exact function of 14-3-3 proteins is still unknown, they are known to (1) act as adaptor molecules stimulating protein-protein interactions, (2) regulate the subcellular localisation of proteins and (3) activate or inhibit enzymes. In this review, we discuss the role of the 14-3-3 proteins in three cellular processes: cell cycle control, signal transduction and apoptosis. These processes are regulated by the 14-3-3 proteins at multiple steps. The 14-3-3 proteins have an overall inhibitory effect on cell cycle progression and apoptosis, whereas in signal transduction they may act as stimulatory or inhibitory factors. This article contains supplementary material which may be viewed at the BioEssays website at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/jpages/0265-9247/Suppmat/23/v23_10.936. Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.