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J Cell Biol. 2000 May 1;149(3):603-12.

Caspase-2 is localized at the Golgi complex and cleaves golgin-160 during apoptosis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Caspases are an extended family of cysteine proteases that play critical roles in apoptosis. Animals deficient in caspases-2 or -3, which share very similar tetrapeptide cleavage specificities, exhibit very different phenotypes, suggesting that the unique features of individual caspases may account for distinct regulation and specialized functions. Recent studies demonstrate that unique apoptotic stimuli are transduced by distinct proteolytic pathways, with multiple components of the proteolytic machinery clustering at distinct subcellular sites. We demonstrate here that, in addition to its nuclear distribution, caspase-2 is localized to the Golgi complex, where it cleaves golgin-160 at a unique site not susceptible to cleavage by other caspases with very similar tetrapeptide specificities. Early cleavage at this site precedes cleavage at distal sites by other caspases. Prevention of cleavage at the unique caspase-2 site delays disintegration of the Golgi complex after delivery of a pro-apoptotic signal. We propose that the Golgi complex, like mitochondria, senses and integrates unique local conditions, and transduces pro-apoptotic signals through local caspases, which regulate local effectors.

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