Caspases are cysteine proteases which have important roles in the activation of cytokines and in apoptosis. The ICE subfamily of caspases comprise peptides closely related to caspase-1, or interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) converting enzyme (ICE), which promotes maturation of interleukin IL-1beta and interleukin-18 (IL-18) by proteolytic cleavage of precursor forms to generate biologically active peptides. Other members of this subfamily include caspase-4, -5, -13 and isoforms of these proteins. We report the cloning and sequencing of two feline and canine ICE-related cDNAs amplified by RT-PCR. The predicted proteins are 410 and 404 amino acids in length respectively and are most closely related to caspase-1 sequences across the N-terminal 115 amino acids and to human caspase-13 across the C-terminal sequence.
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