Most upstream protease of the activation cascade of caspases responsible for the TNFRSF6/FAS mediated and TNFRSF1A induced cell death. Binding to the adapter molecule FADD recruits it to either receptor. The resulting aggregate called death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) performs CASP8 proteolytic activation. The active dimeric enzyme is then liberated from the DISC and free to activate downstream apoptotic proteases. Proteolytic fragments of the N-terminal propeptide (termed CAP3, CAP5 and CAP6) are likely retained in the DISC. Cleaves and activates CASP3, CASP4, CASP6, CASP7, CASP9 and CASP10. May participate in the GZMB apoptotic pathways. Cleaves ADPRT. Hydrolyzes the small-molecule substrate, Ac-Asp-Glu-Val-Asp- -AMC. Likely target for the cowpox virus CRMA death inhibitory protein. Isoform 5, isoform 6, isoform 7 and isoform 8 lack the catalytic site and may interfere with the pro-apoptotic activity of the complex.
Isoform 1, isoform 5 and isoform 7 are expressed in a wide variety of tissues. Highest expression in peripheral blood leukocytes, spleen, thymus and liver. Barely detectable in brain, testis and skeletal muscle.
Defects in CASP8 are the cause of caspase-8 deficiency (CASP8D) [MIM:607271]. CASP8D is a disorder resembling autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS). It is characterized by lymphadenopathy, splenomegaly, and defective CD95-induced apoptosis of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs). It leads to defects in activation of T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, and natural killer cells leading to immunodeficiency characterized by recurrent sinopulmonary and herpes simplex virus infections and poor responses to immunization.
Belongs to the peptidase C14A family. Contains 2 DED (death effector) domains.
Isoform 9 contains a N-terminal extension that is required for interaction with the BCAP31 complex.
Generation of the subunits requires association with the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC), whereas additional processing is likely due to the autocatalytic activity of the activated protease. GZMB and CASP10 can be involved in these processing events. Phosphorylated upon DNA damage, probably by ATM or ATR.