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(cell and molecular biology)
A calcium-dependent cysteine protease in the cytoplasm that is central to most processes in cell biology (plasma membrane-associated signaling events; cell proliferation, differentiation, activation, and communication; and programmed cell death). Its overactivation has been observed in muscular dystrophy, Alzheimer's disease, AIDS, cataract formation, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.