Noncaspase proteases in apoptosis

Leukemia. 2000 Sep;14(9):1695-703. doi: 10.1038/sj.leu.2401879.


Biochemical and genetic analysis of apoptosis has determined that intracellular proteases are key effectors of cell death pathways. In particular, early studies have pointed to the primacy of caspase proteases as mediators of execution. More recently, however, evidence has accumulated that noncaspases, including cathepsins, calpains, granzymes, and the proteasome complex, also have roles in mediating and promoting cell death. An important goal is to understand the importance of distinct noncaspases in various forms of apoptosis, and to determine whether pathways mediated by noncaspase proteases intersect with those mediated by caspases. In this review the roles of noncaspase proteases in the biochemistry of apoptosis will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Calpain / metabolism
  • Cathepsins / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Granzymes
  • Humans
  • Serine Endopeptidases / metabolism


  • Cathepsins
  • Endopeptidases
  • GZMB protein, human
  • Granzymes
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • GZMA protein, human
  • Calpain