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Metacaspases are related to caspases and paracaspases.[1] The metacaspases are Arginine/Lysine-specific, in contrast to caspases, which are Aspartate-specific.[2] Metacaspases are found in plants, fungi, and "protists", but not in slime mold or animals, with one recent exception where both type I and type II metacaspases were found in the genome of Monosiga brevicollis (Choanoflagellate),[3] possibly as a result of an unusual horizontal gene transfer between two eukaryotes. In an analogous manner to caspases, metacaspases induce programmed cell death in both plants and fungi (yeast).[4] [5] [6]


  1. ^ Uren AG, O'Rourke K, Aravind LA, et al. (Oct 2000). "Identification of paracaspases and metacaspases: two ancient families of caspase-like proteins, one of which plays a key role in MALT lymphoma". Molecular Cell 6 (4): 961–7. doi:10.1016/S1097-2765(05)00086-9. PMID 11090634. 
  2. ^ Vercammen D, van de Cotte B, De Jaeger G, et al. (Oct 2004). "Type II metacaspases Atmc4 and Atmc9 of Arabidopsis thaliana cleave substrates after arginine and lysine". J Biol Chem. 279 (44): 45329–36. doi:10.1074/jbc.M406329200. PMID 15326173. 
  3. ^ Nedelcu AM, Miles IH, Fagir AM, Karol K (Aug 2008). "Adaptive eukaryote-to-eukaryote lateral gene transfer: stress-related genes of algal origin in the closest unicellular relatives of animals". J Evol Biol. 21 (6): 1852–60. doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2008.01605.x. PMID 18717747. 
  4. ^ Madeo F, Herker E, Maldener C, et al. (Apr 2002). "A caspase-related protease regulates apoptosis in yeast". Molecular Cell 9 (4): 911–7. doi:10.1016/S1097-2765(02)00501-4. PMID 11983181. 
  5. ^ Bozhkov PV, Suarez MF, Filonova LH, et al. (Oct 2005). "Cysteine protease mcII-Pa executes programmed cell death during plant embryogenesis". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 102 (40): 14463–8. doi:10.1073/pnas.0506948102. PMC 1242326. PMID 16183741. 
  6. ^ Khan MA, Chock PB, Stadtman ER (Nov 2005). "Knockout of caspase-like gene, YCA1, abrogates apoptosis and elevates oxidized proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 102 (48): 17326–31. doi:10.1073/pnas.0508120102. PMC 1287485. PMID 16301538. 

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