Caspase-2: killer, savior and safeguard--emerging versatile roles for an ill-defined caspase

Oncogene. 2009 Sep 3;28(35):3093-6. doi: 10.1038/onc.2009.173. Epub 2009 Jul 6.


Despite the early discovery of caspase-2, its physiological function has long remained an enigma. A number of recent publications now suggest not just one, but multiple functions, including roles in apoptosis, DNA repair and tumor suppression. How can one enzyme have so many talents? Considering the diversity of interaction partners and the specific mode of pro-apoptotic action proposed in these studies, caspase-2 might in fact represent a primordial protease serving numerous pathways, established before the advent of a more elaborate functionally diversified caspases system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Caspase 2 / deficiency
  • Caspase 2 / physiology*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism
  • DNA Repair / physiology
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Biological


  • Caspase 2