Comprehensive search for cysteine cathepsins in the human genome

Biol Chem. 2004 May;385(5):363-72. doi: 10.1515/BC.2004.040.


Our study was aimed at examinating whether or not the human genome encodes for previously unreported cysteine cathepsins. To this end, we used analyses of the genome sequence and mRNA expression levels. The program TBLASTN was employed to scan the draft sequence of the human genome for the 11 known cysteine cathepsins. The cathepsin-like segments in the genome were inspected, filtered, and annotated. In addition to the known cysteine cathepsins, the scan identified three pseudogenes, closely related to cathepsin L, on chromosome 10, as well as two remote homologs, tubulointerstitial protein antigen and tubulointerstitial protein antigen-related protein. No new members of the family were identified. mRNA expression profiles for 10 known human cysteine cathepsins showed varying expression levels in 46 different human tissues and cell lines. No expression of any of the three cathepsin L-like pseudogenes was found. Based on these results, it is likely that to date all human cysteine cathepsins are known.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cathepsins / genetics*
  • Cathepsins / metabolism
  • Cysteine / analysis
  • Cysteine / metabolism
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / genetics*
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / metabolism
  • Databases, Protein
  • Genome, Human*
  • Human Genome Project
  • Humans
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Cathepsins
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Cysteine