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Bicaudal is a conserved substrate for Drosophila and mammalian caspases and is essential for cell survival.Members of the caspase family of cysteine proteases coordinate cell death through restricted proteolysis of diverse protein substrates and play a conserved role in apoptosis from nematodes to man. However, while numerous substrates for the mammalian cell death-associated caspases have now been described, few caspase substrates have been identified in other organisms. Here, we have utilized a proteomics-based approach to identify proteins that are cleaved by caspases during apoptosis in Drosophila D-Mel2 cells, a subline of the Schneider S2 cell line. This approach identified multiple novel substrates for the fly caspases and revealed that bicaudal/betaNAC is a conserved substrate for Drosophila and mammalian caspases. RNAi-mediated silencing of bicaudal expression in Drosophila D-Mel2 cells resulted in a block to proliferation, followed by spontaneous apoptosis. Similarly, silencing of expression of the mammalian bicaudal homologue, betaNAC, in HeLa, HEK293T, MCF-7 and MRC5 cells also resulted in spontaneous apoptosis. These data suggest that bicaudal/betaNAC is essential for cell survival and is a conserved target of caspases from flies to man.