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J Biol Chem. 2000 Dec 22;275(51):39920-6.

Expression analysis of the human caspase-1 subfamily reveals specific regulation of the CASP5 gene by lipopolysaccharide and interferon-gamma.

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Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore 117609, Republic of Singapore.


Based on high sequence homology, there are six members in the caspase-1 subfamily: caspases 1, 4, 5, and 13 in humans and caspases 1, 11, and 12 in mice. Only caspase-1 is known to activate interleukin-1beta and interleukin-18, and caspase-11 activates pro-caspase-1 in vivo. Almost nothing is known about caspases 4, 5, and 13. Here we report a sensitive and specific polymerase chain reaction system to analyze closely related genes. We employed this system to analyze the gene expression and regulation of human caspases 1, 4, 5, and 13, demonstrating that they have different expression patterns in normal tissues and cell lines. Interferon-gamma strongly induced CASP1 and CASP5 but not CASP4 or CASP13 gene expression in HT-29 colon carcinoma cells. In contrast to the mRNA, interferon-gamma up-regulated caspase-1 but not caspase-5 protein. In the monocytic cell line THP-1, CASP1 mRNA and caspase-1 protein are expressed constitutively, and their levels were not increased by lipopolysaccharide, whereas both CASP5 mRNA and caspase-5 protein were induced by lipopolysaccharide. Caspase-1 subfamily members displayed different in vitro activities toward pro-caspases 1 and 3 and pro-interleukin-1beta. Our results demonstrate that caspase-1 and caspase-5 levels are modulated by interferon-gamma and lipopolysaccharide, respectively, and suggest that caspase-1 subfamily members are differentially regulated and may have distinct functions.

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