Cathepsin D (CTSD), a well known lysosomal aspartyl protease and belongs to the peptidase C1 family, which is a normal and major component of lysosomes, and is found in almost all cells and tissues of mammals. Its mostly described function is intracellular catabolism in lysosomal compartments, other physiological effect include hormone and antigen processing. Cathepsin D has a specificity similar to but narrower than that of pepsin A. Cathepsin D plays an important role in the degradation of proteins, the generation of bioactive proteins, antigen processing, etc. Among different role in cell physiology, a new function of this enzyme is examined. Cathepsin D is an important regulator of apoptotic pathways in cells. It acts at different stage of intrinsic and extrinsic pathway of apoptosis. In addition, CTSD secreted from human prostate carcinoma cells are responsible for the generation of angiostatin, a potent endogenous inhibitor of angiogenesis, suggesting its contribution to the prevention of tumor growth and angiogenesis-dependent growth of metastases.
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