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Mol Cell Biochem. 2008 Mar;310(1-2):85-92. Epub 2007 Dec 4.

Involvement of p38 MAPK-mediated signaling in the calpeptin-mediated suppression of myogenic differentiation and fusion in C2C12 cells.

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  • 1Division of Biological Sciences, Chonbuk National University, Chonju 561-756, Korea.


Calpeptin inhibits myoblast fusion by inhibiting the activity of calpain. However, the mechanism by which calpeptin inhibits myogenesis is not completely understood. This study examined how calpeptin affects the expression of the myogenic regulatory factors (MRFs) and the phosphorylation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in differentiating C2C12 myoblasts. Consistent with previous reports, calpeptin inhibited the induction of mu-calpain and the formation of myotubes in these cells. In particular, calpeptin inhibited the expression of the early and mid differentiation markers including MyoD, Myf5, myogenin, and MRF4 as well as the expression of the late markers such as troponin T and myosin heavy chain (MyHC). Calpeptin also suppressed the phosphorylation of p38 MAPK in C2C12 cells. SB203580, a specific p38 inhibitor, prevented the expression of the muscle-specific markers and their fusion into myotubes in these cells, which was further accelerated in the presence of calpeptin. These findings suggest that calpeptin inhibits the myogenesis of skeletal muscle cells by down-regulating the MRFs and involving p38 MAPK signaling.

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