Interleukin-1 beta converting enzyme: a novel cysteine protease required for IL-1 beta production and implicated in programmed cell death

Protein Sci. 1995 Jan;4(1):3-12. doi: 10.1002/pro.5560040102.


Interleukin-1 beta converting enzyme is the first member of a new class of cysteine proteases. The most distinguishing feature of this family is a nearly absolute specificity for cleavage at aspartic acid. This enzyme has been the subject of intense research because of its role in the production of IL-1 beta, a key mediator of inflammation. These studies have culminated in the design of potent inhibitors and determination of its crystal structure. The structure secures the relationship of the enzyme to CED-3, the product of a gene required for programmed cell death in Caenorhabditis elegans, suggesting that members of this family function in cell death in vertebrates.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Caspase 1
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / chemistry
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Interleukin-1 / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Cysteine Proteinase Inhibitors
  • Interleukin-1
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Caspase 1