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Immunity. 1997 Jun;6(6):751-63.

Casper is a FADD- and caspase-related inducer of apoptosis.

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  • 1Tularik, Incorporated, South San Francisco, California 94080, USA.


Caspases are cysteine proteases that play a central role in apoptosis. Caspase-8 may be the first enzyme of the proteolytic cascade activated by the Fas ligand and tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Caspase-8 is recruited to Fas and TNF receptor-1 (TNF-R1) through interaction of its prodomain with the death effector domain (DED) of the receptor-associating FADD. Here we describe a novel 55 kDa protein, Casper, that has sequence similarity to caspase-8 throughout its length. However, Casper is not a caspase since it lacks several conserved amino acids found in all caspases. Casper interacts with FADD, caspase-8, caspase-3, TRAF1, and TRAF2 through distinct domains. When overexpressed in mammalian cells, Casper potently induces apoptosis. A C-terminal deletion mutant of Casper inhibits TNF- and Fas-induced cell death, suggesting that Casper is involved in these apoptotic pathways.

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