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J Biol Chem. 1989 Nov 15;264(32):18866-9.

Inhibition of calpain by a synthetic oligopeptide corresponding to an exon of the human calpastatin gene.

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Institute for Virus Research, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Japan.


Calpastatin is a widely distributed endogenous inhibitor protein specifically acting on calpain (Ca2+-dependent cysteine endopeptidase). The inhibitor consists of four inhibitory domains (Domains 1-4) with mutually homologous sequences. NH2-terminal Domain L is non-homologous, and all domains have 120-140 residues each. A human calpastatin genomic DNA clone was isolated using a previously obtained human calpastatin cDNA probe. Sequence analysis has revealed that the clone contains Domain 1 and segments of neighboring domains (Domains L and 2). Each of three highly conserved, restricted regions within Domain 1 was located on separate exons, 1A, 1B, and 1C. Exon 2A, corresponding to the first exon of Domain 2, is homologous to Exon 1A and follows Exon 1D of Domain 1. A 27-residue peptide encoded by Exon 1B, including a 12-residue middle conserved sequence, was chemically synthesized and tested for protease inhibitory activities. The synthetic peptide showed strong inhibition against calpain I (low Ca2+-requiring form), and calpain II (high Ca2+-requiring form), but no inhibition against papain or trypsin. These results indicated that Exon 1B forms a self-sufficient functional subdomain of the calpastatin inhibitory domain.

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