AAT Bioquest

How do I differentiate pro-caspases and caspases?

Posted April 13, 2023


A caspase is an active protease enzyme that is necessary in apoptosis while in contrast, procaspase is an inactive protease enzyme that is an inactive precursor of caspase. Additionally, procaspases are larger molecules than caspases, and are typically heterodimers or heterotetramers. In contrast, caspases are usually monomers or dimer molecules. The two also have different functions in cells. Procaspases form active caspase enzymes after dimerization and cleavage to carry out cellular function in apoptosis. Caspases assist in degrading cellular components through a controlled mechanism, cell proliferation, tumor suppression, and cell differentiation.  

Additional resources

Caspases in cell death, inflammation and disease

Apoptosis and Necrosis

Cell Meter™ Phosphatidylserine Apoptosis Assay Kit *Blue Fluorescence Optimized for Microplate Readers*