Development-dependent disappearance of caspase-3 in skeletal muscle is post-transcriptionally regulated. Academic Article uri icon


  • Caspase-3, a major player in apoptosis, engages apoptosis-activated cells into an irreversible pathway leading to cell death. In this article, we report that caspase-3 protein is absent from rat and mouse adult skeletal muscles, despite the abundant presence of its mRNA. During skeletal muscle development, caspase-3 protein is present in neonatal animals, but its expression gradually decreases, and disappears completely by 1 month of age, when there is still abundant caspase-3 mRNA. This discordance between caspase-3 message and protein expression is unique to skeletal muscle, as in all other analyzed tissues the protein presence correlates with the presence of the mRNA. The only circumstance in which caspase-3 protein appears in adults is in regenerating muscles; once regeneration is complete, however, it again becomes undetectable in repaired muscles. We conclude that caspase-3 protein in skeletal muscle is uniquely regulated at the post-transcriptional level, unseen in other tissues such as brain, heart, lung, kidney, thymus, spleen, liver, or testis. The post-transcriptional regulation of caspase-3 might serve as a fail-safe mechanism to avoid accidental cell death.

published proceedings

  • J Cell Biochem

author list (cited authors)

  • Ruest, L., Khalyfa, A., & Wang, E.

citation count

  • 28

publication date

  • January 2002