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J Immunol. 2006 Oct 1;177(7):4239-45.

The inflammatory caspases: key players in the host response to pathogenic invasion and sepsis.

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Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal H3A 1A1, Canada.


Caspases are cysteinyl-aspartate-specific proteinases known for their role in apoptosis (cell death or apoptotic caspases) and proinflammatory cytokine maturation (inflammatory caspases). The inflammatory caspases were among the first to be discovered, but only recently have the mechanisms leading to their activation and inhibition begun to be elucidated. In this review, we examine the biochemistry, substrates, and function of this unique family of inflammatory proteases, highlight the most recent findings regarding their regulatory mechanisms, and discuss what remains to be understood about their roles in health and disease.

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