Treatment of U937 cells with various apoptosis-inducing agents, such as TNFalpha and beta-D-arabinofuranosylcytosine (ara-C) alone or in combination with the phorbol ester 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), bryostatin 1 or cycloheximide, causes proteolytic cleavage of protein kinase Cmu (PKCmu) between the regulatory and catalytic domain, generating a 62 kDa catalytic fragment of the kinase. The formation of this fragment is effectively suppressed by the caspase-3 inhibitor Z-DEVD-FMK. In accordance with these in vivo data, treatment of recombinant PKCmu with caspase-3 in vitro results also in the generation of a 62 kDa fragment (p62). Treatment of several aspartic acid to alanine mutants of PKCmu with caspase-3 resulted in an unexpected finding. PKCmu is not cleaved at one of the typical cleavage sites containing the motif DXXD but at the atypical site CQND378/S379. The respective fragment (amino acids 379-912) was expressed in bacteria as a GST fusion protein (GST-p62) and partially purified. In contrast to the intact kinase, the fragment does not respond to the activating cofactors TPA and phosphatidylserine and is thus unable to phosphorylate substrates effectively.