Caspases play a central role in the execution phase of apoptosis and are responsible for many of the morphological features normally associated with this form of cell death. Caspases can activate one another and consequently can initiate specific caspase cascades. Caspases-8 and -9 appear to be the apical caspases activated in death receptor- and mitochondrial stress-induced apoptosis, respectively. The role of large protein complexes in mediating these pathways is discussed.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.