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FEBS J. 2005 Mar;272(6):1401-14.

Caspase-2 is resistant to inhibition by inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) and can activate caspase-7.

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Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Parkville, Australia.


Caspases are a family of cysteine proteases with roles in cytokine maturation or apoptosis. Caspase-2 was the first pro-apoptotic caspase identified, but its functions in apoptotic signal transduction are still being elucidated. This study examined the regulation of the activity of caspase-2 using recombinant proteins and a yeast-based system. Our data suggest that for human caspase-2 to be active its large and small subunits must be separated. For maximal activity its prodomain must also be removed. Consistent with its proposed identity as an upstream caspase, caspase-2 could provoke the activation of caspase-7. Caspase-2 was not subject to inhibition by members of the IAP family of apoptosis inhibitors.

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