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Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2005 Nov;37(11):719-27.

Caspase family proteases and apoptosis.

Author information

1
College of Marine Life Sciences, Division of Life Science and Technology, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, China. tjfan@ouc.edu.cn

Abstract

Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, is an essential physiological process that plays a critical role in development and tissue homeostasis. The progress of apoptosis is regulated in an orderly way by a series of signal cascades under certain circumstances. The caspase-cascade system plays vital roles in the induction, transduction and amplification of intracellular apoptotic signals. Caspases, closely associated with apoptosis, are aspartate-specific cysteine proteases and members of the interleukin-1beta-converting enzyme family. The activation and function of caspases, involved in the delicate caspase-cascade system, are regulated by various kinds of molecules, such as the inhibitor of apoptosis protein, Bcl-2 family proteins, calpain, and Ca2+. Based on the latest research, the members of the caspase family, caspase-cascade system and caspase-regulating molecules involved in apoptosis are reviewed.

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