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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2002 Dec;34(12):1539-43.

Calpain: a role in cell transformation and migration.

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The Beatson Institute for Cancer Research, Cancer Research UK Beatson Laboratories, G61 1BD Glasgow, Scotland, UK.


Calpains represent a well conserved family of calcium-dependent proteolytic enzymes. Recent progress in determining the three-dimensional crystal structure of calpains and generation of calpain knock out animals have significantly advanced our understanding of both the activation mechanism and physiological role of this protease family. Studies applying molecular intervention strategies and genetic ablation of calpain now provide indisputable evidence that calpain activity contributes to remodelling of the actin cytoskeleton, cell migration and oncogenic transformation. Src and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) stimulated cell motility is dependent upon calpain activation. In addition, calpain promotes accelerated cell-cycle progression and anchorage-independent growth of Src transformed cells. In vivo studies demonstrate a link between calpain expression levels and activity with tumour development and invasion. Thus, recent investigations suggest that the role of calpain in promoting cell transformation and cell migration may have important in vivo consequences in the context of cancer pathobiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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