FunctionInvolved in the activation cascade of caspases responsible for apoptosis execution. At the onset of apoptosis it proteolytically cleaves poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) at a '216-Asp- -Gly-217' bond. Cleaves and activates sterol regulatory element binding proteins (SREBPs) between the basic helix-loop-helix leucine zipper domain and the membrane attachment domain. Cleaves and activates caspase-6, -7 and -9. Involved in the cleavage of huntingtin.
Tissue specificityHighly expressed in lung, spleen, heart, liver and kidney. Moderate levels in brain and skeletal muscle, and low in testis. Also found in many cell lines, highest expression in cells of the immune system.
Sequence similaritiesBelongs to the peptidase C14A family.
Post-translational modificationsCleavage by granzyme B, caspase-6, caspase-8 and caspase-10 generates the two active subunits. Additional processing of the propeptides is likely due to the autocatalytic activity of the activated protease. Active heterodimers between the small subunit of caspase-7 protease and the large subunit of caspase-3 also occur and vice versa. S-nitrosylated on its catalytic site cysteine in unstimulated human cell lines and denitrosylated upon activation of the Fas apoptotic pathway, associated with an increase in intracellular caspase activity. Fas therefore activates caspase-3 not only by inducing the cleavage of the caspase zymogen to its active subunits, but also by stimulating the denitrosylation of its active site thiol.