UNIT 21.2 Papain-like Cysteine Proteases

  1. Dieter Brömme

Published Online: 1 MAY 2001

DOI: 10.1002/0471140864.ps2102s21

Current Protocols in Protein Science

Current Protocols in Protein Science

How to Cite

Brömme, D. 2001. Papain-like Cysteine Proteases. Current Protocols in Protein Science. 21:21.2:21.2.1–21.2.14.

Author Information

  1. Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 MAY 2001
  2. Published Print: SEP 2000


The name “cysteine protease“ refers to the protease's nucleophilic cysteine residue that forms a covalent bond with the carbonyl group of the scissile peptide bond in substrates. The papain-like cysteine proteases, classified as the “C1 family” are the most predominant cysteine proteases. These proteases are found in viruses, plants, primitive parasites, invertebrates, and vertebrates alike. Mammalian papain-like cysteine proteases are also known as cathepsins. This unit discusses cathepsins, and their subcellular and tissue localization, catalytic mechanism, and substrate specificity. Several tables illustrate the properties of the various cathepsins.