Nature. 2002 Sep 26;419(6905):395-9.

Pleiotropic defects in lymphocyte activation caused by caspase-8 mutations lead to human immunodeficiency.External

Chun, H. J., Zheng, L., Ahmad, M., Wang, J., Speirs, C. K., Siegel, R. M., Dale, J. K., Puck, J., Davis, J., Hall, C. G., Skoda-Smith, S., Atkinson, T. P., Straus, S. E., Lenardo, M. J.,
--- - Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.
Apoptosis is a form of programmed cell death that is controlled by aspartate-specific cysteine proteases called caspases. In the immune system, apoptosis counters the proliferation of lymphocytes to achieve a homeostatic balance, which allows potent responses to pathogens but avoids autoimmunity. The CD95 (Fas, Apo-1) receptor triggers lymphocyte apoptosis by recruiting Fas-associated death domain (FADD), caspase-8 and caspase-10 proteins into a death-inducing signalling complex. Heterozygous mutations in CD95, CD95 ligand or caspase-10 underlie most cases of autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS), a human disorder that is characterized by defective lymphocyte apoptosis, lymphadenopathy, splenomegaly and autoimmunity. Mutations in caspase-8 have not been described in ALPS, and homozygous caspase-8 deficiency causes embryonic lethality in mice. Here we describe a human kindred with an inherited genetic deficiency of caspase-8. Homozygous individuals manifest defective lymphocyte apoptosis and homeostasis but, unlike individuals affected with ALPS, also have defects in their activation of T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes and natural killer cells, which leads to immunodeficiency. Thus, caspase-8 deficiency in humans is compatible with normal development and shows that caspase-8 has a postnatal role in immune activation of naive lymphocytes.
PMID: 12353035External