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FEBS Lett. 1991 Sep 23;290(1-2):55-7.

The calpain-calpastatin system in vascular smooth muscle.

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Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis 46202.


Vascular smooth muscle contains large amounts of the Ca(2+)-dependent protease calpain II. In this study, we compared bovine aortic muscle (muscle phenotype) to cultured bovine aortic cells of smooth muscle origin (modulated phenotype) with respect to major constituents of the calpain-calpastatin system. Bovine aortic muscle contained only calpain II by activity measurements, Western blot of tissue extracts and Northern blot of poly(A)+ RNA. On the other hand, using the same methodologies, both calpains I and II as well as the 110 kDa inhibitor protein, calpastatin, were identified in cultured bovine aortic cells of smooth muscle origin. We conclude that the phenotypic state of smooth muscle cells is associated with differential expression of major components of the calpain-calpastatin system. Moreover, bovine aortic muscle is the only tissue identified to date that contains calpain II exclusively.

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