We report here the inactivation of a member of the Ice/Ced-3 (caspase) family of cell death genes, casp-11, by gene targeting. Like Ice-deficient mice, casp-11 mutant mice are resistant to endotoxic shock induced by lipopolysaccharide. Production of both IL-1alpha and IL-1beta after lipopolysaccharide stimulation, a crucial event during septic shock and an indication of ICE activation, is blocked in casp-11 mutant mice. casp-11 mutant embryonic fibroblast cells are resistant to apoptosis induced by overexpression of ICE. Furthermore, we found that pro-caspase-11 physically interacts with pro-ICE in cells, and the expression of casp-11 is essential for activation of ICE. Our data suggest that caspase-11 is a component of ICE complex and is required for the activation of ICE.
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