Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 719-723
Caspases are a family of cysteine proteases that play an important role in the apoptotic pathway. Caspase-6 is an apoptosis effector that cleaves a variety of cellular substrates. The active form of the enzyme is required for use in research. However, it has been difficult to obtain sufficient quantities of active caspase-6 from Escherichia coli. In the present study, we constructed a caspase-6 with a 23-amino-acid deletion in the pro-domain. This engineered enzyme was expressed as a soluble protein in E. coli and was purified using affinity resin. In vitro enzyme assay and cleavage analysis revealed that the engineered active caspase-6 protein had characteristics similar to those of wild-type caspase-6. This novel method can be a valuable tool for obtaining active caspase-6 that can be used for screening caspase-6-specific substrates, which in turn can be used to elucidate the function of caspase-6 in apoptosis.