Caspase activation: revisiting the induced proximity model

Cell. 2004 Jun 25;117(7):855-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2004.06.007.


Caspases execute cell death. The mechanism of effector caspase activation primarily involves reorganization of active site loops following the activation cleavage. The Induced Proximity hypothesis, originally proposed to explain the activation of initiator caspases, has recently been reinterpreted to be proximity-driven dimerization of initiator caspases, and consequently their activation. The evidence supporting these models is critically evaluated and other possible mechanisms for initiator caspase activation are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Binding Sites
  • Caspases / chemistry
  • Caspases / metabolism*
  • Catalysis
  • Cysteine / metabolism
  • Dimerization
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Enzyme Precursors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Models, Biological*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Conformation


  • Enzyme Precursors
  • Ligands
  • Caspases
  • Cysteine