Caspase 7: The Cell's Suicide Switch

Thu, 01/17/2013 - 11:08

Caspase 7 (also known as CASP7, Mch3, ICE-LAP3, CMH-1) is a member of caspase family of cysteine proteases. It is an apoptosis-related cystein peptidase encoded by the CASP7 gene in humans. CASP7 homologous sequences have been identified in nearly all mammals. Similar to Caspase 3, Caspase-7 is an effector caspase and plays a key role in apoptotic execution. Once activated, Caspase-7 cleaves and activates downstream substrates, such as poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP), and causes cellular morphological and biomedical changes associated with apoptosis. During apoptosis, Caspase-7 is activated by initiator caspases (Caspase 8, Caspase 9 and Caspase 10) through proteolytic processing at conserved aspartic residues (Asp23 and Asp198), and produce one large and one small subunit that dimerize to form an active enzyme in the form of a heterotetramer.

IHC analysis of Caspase 7 in human colon tissue. IHC analysis of Caspase 7 in human colon tissue.

Many cytokines and chemical compounds are found to trigger apoptosis via activating Caspase-7, including inflammasome (1), Interferon beta (2), Granzyme B (3) and two cancer drugs doxorubicin (4) and lovastatin (5). In contrast, Survivin, a dual function human protein was reported to prevent apoptosis by inhibiting caspases (e.g. Caspase 7) and promote cell growth by stabilizing microtubules during cell division in the G2/M phase (6). XIAP (X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein), also an apoptosis inhibitor, suppresses cell death by inhibiting the catalytic activity of Caspases 7 (7 and 8).

Increasing evidence suggest that Caspase-7 is involved in inflammation.  Burguillos and colleagues showed various inflammogens activate Caspase-8 and Caspase 3/7 and leads to neurotoxicity associated with neurological diseases (9).

Antibodies detecting active Caspase-7 are routinely used for the assessment of apoptosis and inflammation. Novus Biologicals offers a wide range of Caspase-7 products for Western blotting (NBP1-19229), ELISA (NBP1-76608), Immunohistochemistry (NBP1-19794) and for functional studies (KA0754). Also available: Caspase-7 overexpression lysate (293T cell) (H00000840-T01) and human Caspase-7 protein (P4038). Please contact us to discuss how we may help with your research.

  1. PMID: 22464733
  2. PMID: 10918594
  3. PMID: 9852092
  4. PMID: 11313718
  5. PMID: 9426061
  6. PMID: 11170436
  7. PMID: 15650747
  8. PMID: 11257230
  9. PMID: 21389984

Blog Topics