Possible involvement of caspase-7 in cell cycle progression at mitosis

Genes Cells. 2008 Jun;13(6):609-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2443.2008.01192.x. Epub 2008 May 4.


Caspases are suggested to play essential roles not only in apoptotic but also in non-apoptotic functions. However, the contribution of caspases to the cell cycle regulation is unclear. Here we found that caspases including caspase-3, caspase-7, caspase-8 and caspase-9 were activated during mitosis. Chemically synthesized caspase inhibitors delayed mitotic progression and induced accumulation of mitotic cells, which exhibited abnormal chromatin condensation and incomplete chromosome segregation. Furthermore, knockdown of caspase-7 by using small interfering RNAs resulted in the inhibition of cell proliferation, but knockdown of other caspases did not show a significant effect on cell growth. The expression of short hairpin RNA directed against caspase-7 induced the cell cycle arrest at mitosis, which was rescued by the re-expression of caspase-7 containing silent mutations at the target site for the short hairpin RNA. These results revealed that caspase-7 has a novel role during cell cycle progression at mitosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Caspase 7 / genetics
  • Caspase 7 / metabolism*
  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Humans
  • Mitosis*
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism


  • Caspase Inhibitors
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Caspase 7
  • Caspases