The death mediator caspase acts as the dominant regulator during cell death induction. The CPP32 subfamily, including caspase 3 (CPP32/Yama/Apopain), is essential for the cell death signaling. We recently reported that activation of caspase 3 is regulated by complex formation with p21 or ILP. In the present study, we investigated the binding domain with p21 and ILP to further characterize the caspase 3 inactivation machinery. Our results show that caspase 3 contains p21 binding domain in the N-terminus and ILP binding domain in the active site. Further, the caspase 3 binding domain in p21 was independent of the Cdk- or PCNA-binding domain. We also found caspase 3 protection by p21 from the p3-site cleavage serineproteinase contributes to the suppression machinery. Here, we propose the caspase 3 inactivation system by p21 and ILP as new essential system in the regulation of cell death.