The human CASP8 gene, whose product is also known as caspase 8 and FLICE, encodes an interleukin-1β converting enzyme (ICE)-related cysteine protease that is activated by the engagement of several different death receptors. Caspase 8 is immediately recruited to the Fas receptor once it oligomerizes, and its protease activity is crucial for the apoptotic response generated by the resulting death-inducing signaling complex (DISC). We report here that the CASP8 gene contains at least 11 exons spanning 30 kb on human chromosome band 2q33-34. This region of human chromosome 2 was previously reported as the location of the CASP10 gene, whose product is closely related to caspase 8. Chromosome 2 band q33-34 is also involved in tumorigenesis, with loss of heterogeneity (LOH) being reported in a number of tumors. We also report EcoRI and HindIII polymorphisms that may prove to be useful in disease analysis. Both caspases 8 and 10 contain long pro-domains with duplicated death effector domains (DEDs), as well as their corresponding cysteine protease catalytic domains. Thus, it appears that CASP8 and CASP10 have evolved by tandem gene duplication, much like the CASP1, CASP4 and CASP5 gene cluster on human chromosome 11q22.2-22.3.
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