Apoptosis is an active form of programmed cell death (PCD) that plays critical roles in the development, differentiation and resistance to pathogens in multicellular organisms. Ribosome inactivating proteins (RIPs) are able to induce apoptotic cell death in mammalian cells. In this study, using yeast as a model system, we showed that yeast cells expressing pokeweed antiviral protein (PAP), a single-chain ribosome-inactivating protein, exhibit apoptotic-like features, such as nuclear fragmentation and ROS production. We studied the interaction between PAP and AtBI-1 (Arabidopsis thaliana Bax Inhibitor-1), a plant anti-apoptotic protein, which inhibits Bax induced cell death. Cells expressing PAP and AtBI-1 were able to survive on galactose media compared to PAP alone, indicating a reduction in the cytotoxicity of PAP in yeast. However, PAP was able to depurinate the ribosomes and to inhibit total translation in the presence of AtBI-1. A C-terminally deleted AtBI-1 was able to reduce the cytotoxicity of PAP. Since anti-apoptotic proteins form heterodimers to inhibit the biological activity of their partners, we used a coimmunoprecipitation assay to examine the binding of AtBI-1 to PAP. Both full length and C-terminal deleted AtBI-1 were capable of binding to PAP. These findings indicate that PAP induces cell death in yeast and AtBI-1 inhibits cell death induced by PAP without affecting ribosome depurination and translation inhibition.