Calpain-calcineurin signaling in the pathogenesis of calcium-dependent disorder

Hai Yan Wu, Kazuhito Tomizawa, Hideki Matsui

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

68 Citations (Scopus)


Intracellular calcium is a powerful secondary messenger that affects a number of calcium sensors, including calpain, a Ca2+-dependent cysteine protease, and calcineurin, a Ca2+ /calmodulin-dependent protein phosphatase. Maintenance of low basal levels of intracellular calcium allows for the tightly regulated physiological activation of these proteins, which is crucial to a wide variety of cellular processes, such as fertilization, proliferation, development, learning, and memory. Deregulation of calpain and calcineurin has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several disorders, including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cerebral ischemia, and Alzheimer's disease. Recent studies have demonstrated an interplay between calpain and calcineurin, in which calpain can directly regulate calcineurin activity through proteolysis in glutamate-stimulated neurons in culture and in vivo. The calpain-mediated proteolytic cleavage of calcineurin increases phosphatase activity, which promotes caspase-mediated neuronal cell death. Thus, the activation of the calpain-calcineurin pathway could contribute to calcium-dependent disorders, especially those associated with Alzheimer's disease and myocardial hypertrophy. Here, we focus briefly on recent advances in revealing the structural and functional properties of these 2 calcium-activated proteins, as well as on the interplay between the 2, in an effort to understand how calpain-calcineurin signaling may relate to the pathogenesis of calcium-dependent disorders. Copyright

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-137
Number of pages15
JournalActa medica Okayama
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007


  • Calcineurin
  • Calcium
  • Calpain
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Proteolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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    Wu, H. Y., Tomizawa, K., & Matsui, H. (2007). Calpain-calcineurin signaling in the pathogenesis of calcium-dependent disorder. Acta medica Okayama, 61(3), 123-137.