Neurochemical Research

, Volume 36, Issue 7, pp 1253–1260 | Cite as

Apoptotic and Non-apoptotic Caspase Functions in Neural Development

  • Masayuki MiuraEmail author


During neural development, massive cell death occurs in both vertebrates and invertebrates. Caspase is a central player in apoptosis that is evolutionally conserved. Genetic manipulation of the caspase activity in Drosophila and mice has revealed that caspases control cell fate through apoptotic and non-apoptotic mechanisms, to ensure appropriate cell differentiation and maturation in the developing nervous system.


Caspase Neural development Apoptosis Cell death 



I deeply thank Professor K. Mikoshiba, my wonderful mentor, for his incredible passion for developmental biology that stimulated and greatly inspired me. I thank H. Kanuka (Obihiro Univ.) and E. Kuranaga (Univ. Tokyo) for initiating the study of Drosophila sensory organ development that led to the finding of non-apoptotic caspase function in vivo, and for stimulating discussion. I also thank A. Koto for the live imaging study of the sensory organ and fruitful discussion. This work was supported in part by grants from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, Culture and Technology and by a RIKEN Bioarchitect Research Grant.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Genetics, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical SciencesThe University of Tokyo and CRESTTokyoJapan

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