Send to

Choose Destination
Immunol Rev. 2003 Jun;193:10-21.

Caspase-activation pathways in apoptosis and immunity.

Author information

Molecular Cell Biology Laboratory,Department of Genetics,The Smurfit Institute, Trinity College,Dublin, Ireland.


Members of the caspase family of cysteine proteases have been firmly established to play key roles in signal transduction cascades that culminate in apoptosis (programmed cell death). Caspases are normally expressed as inactive precursor enzymes (zymogens) that become activated during apoptosis and proceed to dismantle the cell from within. To date, three major apoptosis-associated pathways to caspase activation have been elucidated. Certain caspases, such as caspase-1, also occupy important positions in signaling pathways associated with immune responses to microbial pathogens. In this situation, caspase activation is associated with the maturation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) and IL-18, and not apoptosis per se. Here, we discuss the current understanding of how caspases are activated during apoptosis and inflammation and the roles these proteases play in either context.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center