Migrate, Differentiate, Proliferate, or Die: Pleiotropic Functions of an Apical "Apoptotic Caspase"

Science's STKE  12 Oct 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 254, pp. pe49
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2542004pe49

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Caspases, the cysteine proteases that cleave their substrates following an aspartate residue, primarily carry out two distinct functions: (i) activation of proinflammatory cytokines and (ii) execution of apoptosis. These two functions are considered to be unique to individual caspases; thus, some caspases act in apoptosis, whereas others have a role in inflammation. However, this dogma is now being challenged as nonapoptotic functions are ascribed to caspases that, until recently, were only known to function in cell death pathways. Recent work suggests that DRONC, the only initiator cell death caspase in Drosophila, may play a direct or indirect role in cell migration, sperm differentiation, and cell proliferation in addition to its function in cell death.

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