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Cell Death Dis. 2011 Oct 20;2:e220. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2011.101.

Caspase deficiency alters the murine gut microbiome.

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  • 1Department for Molecular Biomedical Research, VIB, Ghent, Belgium.


Caspases are aspartate-specific cysteine proteases that have an essential role in apoptosis and inflammation, and contribute to the maintenance of homeostasis in the intestine. These facts, together with the knowledge that caspases are implicated in host-microbe crosstalk, prompted us to investigate the effect of caspase (Casp)1, -3 and -7 deficiency on the composition of the murine gut microbiota. We observed significant changes in the abundance of the Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes phyla, in particular the Lachnospiraceae, Porphyromonodaceae and Prevotellacea families, when comparing Casp-1, -7 and -3 knockout mice with wild-type mice. Our data point toward an intricate relationship between these caspases and the composition of the murine gut microflora.

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