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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Calpain is activated in degenerating photoreceptors in the rd1 mouse.

The retinal degeneration (rd)1 mouse displays an inherited retinal degeneration and therefore allows studies of the molecular mechanisms behind the blinding disease retinitis pigmentosa. Activation of the calcium-dependent protease calpain has been suggested to play an important role in cell death in various tissues, but little is known about the expression and activity of calpain during inherited retinal degeneration. Using microarray techniques, transcript levels of cyclic AMP response element-binding protein (CREB)-1, calpastatin and of various calpain genes were analysed in the rd1 mouse compared with its wild-type control. Expression of distinct calpain isoforms and calpastatin was investigated using immunofluorescence and immunoblotting. Gene transcription and protein expression levels were compared with calpain activity using an enzymatic assay that allowed monitoring of calpain activity at the cellular level. We found that CREB-1 and calpastatin expression was reduced in rd1 retinas, whereas calpain activity was substantially increased in rd1 photoreceptors. Calpain activity peaked at postnatal day 13, together with rd1 photoreceptor cell death. Calpain-specific inhibitors decreased calpain activity in situ. These results indicate that activation of calpains correlates with rd1 photoreceptor cell death, which raises the possibility of using calpain inhibitors to prevent or delay photoreceptor degeneration.[1]


  1. Calpain is activated in degenerating photoreceptors in the rd1 mouse. Paquet-Durand, F., Azadi, S., Hauck, S.M., Ueffing, M., van Veen, T., Ekström, P. J. Neurochem. (2006) [Pubmed]
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