By now, you're probably not going to be surprised to learn
that caspases come in various flavors. (Doesn't everything?) Caspases have structural differences that
reflect the differing roles they play in the apoptosis process. In particular,
caspases may or may
not have associated with their prodomain
a CARD domain. This is a Caspase-Associated Death
that, like any other death domain, wants to get intimate with other death
domains. It's very Goth.
- Initiator caspases: Caspases 2, 8, 9 and 10. These caspases
have long prodomains with CARD regions. Caspases 8 and 9
appear to be particularly important.
- Executioners: Caspases 3, 6 and 7. These caspases have short
prodomains without CARD. Watch
caspase 3. He's a troublemaker.
- Other Caspases: also called "cytokine processors" or
"inflammatory caspases." Caspases 1, 4, 5, 11, 12, 13 and 14.
Long prodomains without CARD regions. Quite frankly, we won't be talking
much about these caspases…because nobody else does.