Caspase-3 (IPR015470)

Short name: Caspase_3

Family relationships



The molecular hallmark of programmed cell death, or apoptosis, is the activation of caspases. Caspases are synthesized as relatively inactive zymogens and must undergo a process of activation during apoptosis. Based on their order of activation, caspases are classified into two families: the initiator caspases, caspase-2, -8, -9, -10,and -11, and the effector caspases, caspase-3, -6, and -7. In response to upstream apoptotic stimuli, the initiator caspases undergo a complex course of autocatalytic processing and activation, which usually require several auxiliary factors [PMID: 11931755]. Once activated, an initiator caspase specifically cleaves and hence activates an effector caspase zymogen.

The family of caspases include [PMID: 8861900]: caspase-1 (interleukin-beta1 converting enzyme); caspase-2 (ICH-1, NEDD-2); caspase-3 (apopain, CPP32, Yama); caspase-4 (ICH-2, TX, ICErel-II); caspase-5 (ICH-3, TY, ICErel-III); caspase-6 (MCH-2); caspase-7 (MCH-3, ICE-LAP3, CMH-1, SCA-2, LICE2); caspase-8 (MCH-5, MACH, FLICE); caspase-9 (MCH-6, ICE-LAP6); caspase-10 (MCH-4, FLICE2); caspase-11; caspase-12; caspase-13; caspase 14 (MICE); Caenorhabditis elegans ced-3; Danio rerio (Zebrafish) (Brachydanio rerio) caspy; and Drosophila melanogaster Ice.

Caspase-3-deficient born at a frequency lower than expected by Mendelian genetics, are smaller than their littermates and die at 1-3 weeks of age. Although their thymocytes retain normal susceptibility to various apoptotic stimuli, brain development in caspase-3-deficient mice is profoundly affected, and discernible by embryonic day 12, resulting in a variety of hyperplasias and disorganised cell deployment [PMID: 8934524]. Caspase-9 cleaves and activates caspase-3, and caspase-9 deficient Mus musculus (Mouse) show no caspase3 activation in embryonic brains in vivo [PMID: 9708735].

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0006915 apoptotic process
GO:0006508 proteolysis

Molecular Function

GO:0004197 cysteine-type endopeptidase activity

Cellular Component

GO:0005737 cytoplasm

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.