Medical Dictionary

caspase

noun cas·pase \ ˈka-ˌspās \

medical Definition of caspase

:any of several intracellular proteases that have a cysteine residue at their active site, that cleave substrate proteins at specific aspartic acid residues, and that are involved in the initiation and mediation of apoptosis
  • … the mitochondria either rupture or leak, ensuring their own demise and releasing a cocktail of factors that trigger protein-splitting enzymes called caspases. The activated caspases then rapidly cleave proteins in the cell's internal skeleton, membranes, and nucleus to bring about the characteristic hallmarks of apoptosis.
  • —Elizabeth FinkelScience27 Apr. 2001
  • These genes activate the same pathways involved in cellular suicide, or apoptosis. The cells from the Alzheimer's patients had twice as much of a substance, caspase-3, involved in cellular suicide.
  • —Jamie TalanThe Dallas Morning News10 June 2000

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