Classification and Nomenclature of Metacaspases and Paracaspases: No More Confusion with Caspases

Elena A. Minina, Jens Staal, Vanina E. Alvarez, John A. Berges, Ilana Berman-Frank, Rudi Beyaert, Kay D. Bidle, Frédéric Bornancin, Magali Casanova, Juan J. Cazzulo, Chang Jae Choi, Nuria S. Coll, Vishva M. Dixit, Marko Dolinar, Nicolas Fasel, Christiane Funk, Patrick Gallois, Kris Gevaert, Emilio Gutierrez-Beltran, Stephan HailfingerMarina Klemenčič, Eugene V. Koonin, Daniel Krappmann, Anna Linusson, Maurício F.M. Machado, Frank Madeo, Lynn A. Megeney, Panagiotis N. Moschou, Jeremy C. Mottram, Thomas Nyström, Heinz D. Osiewacz, Christopher M. Overall, Kailash C. Pandey, Jürgen Ruland, Guy S. Salvesen, Yigong Shi, Andrei Smertenko, Simon Stael, Jerry Ståhlberg, María Fernanda Suárez, Margot Thome, Hannele Tuominen, Frank Van Breusegem, Renier A.L. van der Hoorn, Assaf Vardi, Boris Zhivotovsky, Eric Lam, Peter V. Bozhkov

Research output: Contribution to journalLetterpeer-review


Metacaspases and paracaspases are proteases that were first identified as containing a caspase-like structural fold (Uren et al., 2000). Like caspases, meta- and paracaspases are multifunctional proteins regulating diverse biological phenomena, such as aging, immunity, proteostasis and programmed cell death. The broad phylogenetic distribution of meta- and paracaspases across all kingdoms of life and large variation of their biochemical and structural features complicate classification and annotation of the rapidly growing number of identified homologs. Establishment of an adequate classification and unified nomenclature of meta- and paracaspases is especially important to avoid frequent confusion of these proteases with caspases - a tenacious misnomer that unfortunately does not appear to decline with time. This letter represents a consensus opinion of researchers studying different aspects of caspases, meta- and paracaspases in various organisms, ranging from microbes to plants and animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-929
Number of pages3
JournalMolecular Cell
Issue number5
StatePublished - 5 Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation . We apologize to colleagues whose work has not been cited due to space limitations.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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