Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab


  • Manfred Schwab
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_892-2


Are mainly lysosomal cysteine proteases (human cathepsins B, C, F, H, K, L, O, S, V, X, and W), other cathepsins belong to the serine (cathepsin G) and the aspartic (cathepsins D, E) proteases. Cathepsins were long believed to be involved in intracellular protein degradation; recently, it has become evident that they are involved in a number of specific cellular processes and that their irregular function is associated with pathological conditions, including cancer. Cathepsins were originally defined as a group of digestive proteases present in lysosomes and involved in lysosomal protein breakdown. From a genetic, biochemical, and catalytic point of view, cathepsins constitute an extremely heterogeneous group of proteases. This diversity assures in most tissues complete degradation of ingested proteins. With the identification of select cathepsins in other vesicular compartments of the secretory and endosomal system, however, the definition of cathepsins has evolved to also...


Cellular Process Protein Degradation Heterogeneous Group Cysteine Protease Intracellular Protein 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)HeidelbergGermany