The inhibitor profiling of the caspase family of proteases using substrate-derived peptide glyoxals.

Diarmaid Murphy, Brian Walker, Ciara A. Ryan, Lorraine Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A series of substrate-based a-keto-ß-aldehyde (glyoxal) sequences have been synthesised and evaluated as inhibitors of the caspase family of cysteine proteases. A number of potent inhibitor sequences have been identified. For example, a palmitic acid containing sequence pal-Tyr-Val-Ala-Asp-glyoxal was demonstrated to be an extremely effective inhibitor of caspase-1, inhibiting not only the action of the protease against synthetic fluorogenic substrates (Ki = 0.3 nM) but also blocking its processing of pro-interleukin-1beta (pro-IL-1ß). In addition, the peptide Ac-Asp-Glu-Val-Asp-glyoxal, which is based on the consensus cleavage sequence for caspase-3, is a potent inhibitor of this protease (Ki = 0.26 nM) yet only functions as a comparatively modest inhibitor of caspase-1 (Ki = 451 nM). Potent inhibitor sequences were also identified for caspases-6 and -8. However, the degree of discrimination between the family members is limited. The ability of Ac-Asp-Glu-Val-Asp-glyoxal to block caspase-3 like activity in whole cells and to delay the development of apoptosis was assessed. When tested against caspase-3 like activity in cell lysates, Ac-Asp-Glu-Val-Asp-glyoxal displayed effective inhibition similar to that observed against recombinant caspase-3. Treatment of whole cells with this potent caspase-3 inhibitor was however, not sufficient to significantly stall the development of apoptosis in-vitro.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-488
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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