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Caspase 2 was initially identified as a neuronally expressed developmentally down-regulated gene (HUGO gene nomenclature CASP2) and has been shown to be required for neuronal death induced by several stimuli, including NGF (nerve growth factor) deprivation and Aβ (β-amyloid). In non-neuronal cells the PIDDosome, composed of caspase 2 and two death adaptor proteins, PIDD (p53-inducible protein with a death domain) and RAIDD {RIP (receptor-interacting protein)-associated ICH-1 [ICE (interleukin-1β-converting enzyme)/CED-3 (cell-death determining 3) homologue 1] protein with a death domain}, has been proposed as the caspase 2 activation complex, although the absolute requirement for the PIDDosome is not clear. To investigate the requirement for the PIDDosome in caspase-2-dependent neuronal death, we have examined the necessity for each component in induction of active caspase 2 and in execution of caspase-2-dependent neuronal death. We find that both NGF deprivation and Aβ treatment of neurons induce active caspase 2 and that induction of this activity depends on expression of RAIDD, but is independent of PIDD expression. We show that treatment of wild-type or PIDD-null neurons with Aβ or NGF deprivation induces formation of a complex of caspase 2 and RAIDD. We also show that caspase-2-dependent execution of neurons requires RAIDD, not PIDD. Caspase 2 activity can be induced in neurons from PIDD-null mice, and NGF deprivation or Aβ use caspase 2 and RAIDD to execute death of these neurons.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochem J

Publication Date





591 - 599


Animals, Animals, Newborn, CRADD Signaling Adaptor Protein, Caspase 2, Cells, Cultured, Death Domain Receptor Signaling Adaptor Proteins, Enzyme Activation, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Nerve Growth Factor, Neurons, PC12 Cells, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley