Caspases: killer proteases

Trends Biochem Sci. 1997 Aug;22(8):299-306. doi: 10.1016/s0968-0004(97)01085-2.


Caspases (cysteinyl aspartate-specific proteinases) mediate highly specific proteolytic cleavage events in dying cells, which collectively manifest the apoptotic phenotype. The key and central role that these enzymes play in a biochemical cell-suicide pathway has been conserved throughout the evolution of multicellular eukaryotes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / enzymology*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases* / chemistry
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases* / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Cysteine Endopeptidases