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J Biol Chem. 1994 Dec 9;269(49):30761-4.

CPP32, a novel human apoptotic protein with homology to Caenorhabditis elegans cell death protein Ced-3 and mammalian interleukin-1 beta-converting enzyme.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107.


We have cloned a novel apoptotic gene from human Jurkat T-lymphocytes. The new gene encodes a 32-kDa putative cysteine protease (CPP32) with significant homology to Caenorhabditis elegans cell death protein Ced-3, mammalian interleukin-1 beta-converting enzyme (ICE), and the product of the mouse nedd2 gene. The CPP32 transcript is highly expressed and most abundant in cell lines of lymphocytic origin. Overexpression of CPP32 or ICE in Sf9 insect cells resulted in apoptosis. In addition, coexpression of recombinant p20 and p11 derived from the parental full-length CPP32 sequence resulted in apoptosis in Sf9 cells. Our data suggest that similar to ICE, CPP32 is made of two subunits, p20 and p11, which form the active CPP32 complex. The apoptotic activity of CPP32 and its high expression in lymphocytes suggest that CPP32 is an important mediator of apoptosis in the immune system.

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