Global mapping of the topography and magnitude of proteolytic events in apoptosis

Cell. 2008 Aug 22;134(4):679-91. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.06.038.


Proteolysis is a key regulatory process that promotes the (in)activation, translocation, and/or degradation of proteins. As such, there is considerable interest in methods to comprehensively characterize proteolytic pathways in biological systems. Here, we describe a robust and versatile proteomic platform that enables direct visualization of the topography and magnitude of proteolytic events on a global scale. We use this method to generate a proteome-wide map of proteolytic events induced by the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. This profile contained 91 characterized caspase substrates as well as 170 additional proteins not previously known to be cleaved during apoptosis. Surprisingly, the vast majority of proteolyzed proteins, regardless of the extent of cleavage, yielded persistent fragments that correspond to discrete protein domains, suggesting that the generation of active effector proteins may be a principal function of apoptotic proteolytic cascades.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis*
  • Humans
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proteomics / methods*


  • Proteins
  • Peptide Hydrolases