Poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR) has been identified as a DNA damage-inducible cell death signal upstream of apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF). PAR causes the translocation of AIF from mitochondria to the nucleus and triggers cell death. In living cells, PAR molecules are subject to dynamic changes pending on internal and external stress factors. Using RNA interference (RNAi), we determined the roles of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases-1 and -2 (PARP-1, PARP-2) and poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase (PARG), the key enzymes configuring PAR molecules, in cell death induced by an alkylating agent. We found that PARP-1, but not PARP-2 and PARG, contributed to alkylation-induced cell death. Likewise, AIF translocation was only affected by PARP-1. PARP-1 seems to play a major role configuring PAR as a death signal involving AIF translocation regardless of the death pathway involved.