Mcl-1 is an antiapoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family of proteins that plays a central role in cell survival of neutrophils and other cells. The protein is unusual among family members in that it has a very short half-life of 2-3 h. In this report, we show that sodium salicylate (at 10 mM) greatly enhances the rate at which neutrophils undergo apoptosis and, in parallel, greatly accelerates the turnover rate of Mcl-1, decreasing its half-life to only 90 min. Whereas constitutive and GM-CSF-modified Mcl-1 turnover is regulated by the proteasome, the accelerated sodium salicylate-induced Mcl-1 turnover is mediated largely via caspases. Sodium salicylate resulted in rapid activation of caspase-3, -8, -9, and -10, and salicylate-accelerated Mcl-1 turnover was partly blocked by caspase inhibitors. Sodium salicylate also induced dramatic changes in the activities of members of the MAPK family implicated in Mcl-1 turnover and apoptosis. For example, sodium salicylate blocked GM-CSF-stimulated Erk and Akt activation, but resulted in rapid and sustained activation of p38-MAPK, an event mimicked by okadaic acid that also accelerates Mcl-1 turnover and neutrophil apoptosis. These data thus shed important new insights into the dynamic and highly regulated control of neutrophil apoptosis that is effected by modification in the rate of Mcl-1 turnover.