Classification and Nomenclature of Metacaspases and Paracaspases: No More Confusion With Caspases

Mol Cell. 2020 Mar 5;77(5):927-929. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.12.020.


Metacaspases and paracaspases are proteases that were first identified as containing a caspase-like structural fold (Uren et al., 2000). Like caspases, meta- and paracaspases are multifunctional proteins regulating diverse biological phenomena, such as aging, immunity, proteostasis and programmed cell death. The broad phylogenetic distribution of meta- and paracaspases across all kingdoms of life and large variation of their biochemical and structural features complicate classification and annotation of the rapidly growing number of identified homologs. Establishment of an adequate classification and unified nomenclature of meta- and paracaspases is especially important to avoid frequent confusion of these proteases with caspases - a tenacious misnomer that unfortunately does not appear to decline with time. This letter represents a consensus opinion of researchers studying different aspects of caspases, meta- and paracaspases in various organisms, ranging from microbes to plants and animals.

Publication types

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