Earlier we have shown that an equimolar mixture of calpastatin subdomains A and C (19 amino acids each) strongly activates m-calpain in vitro. In the present work we developed a membrane-permeable activator system, by conjugating an oligo-arginine tail to both peptides. We tested calpain activation as well as synaptic excitability on rat brain slices ex vivo. In hippocampal slices both basic excitability and long-term synaptic efficacy were significantly increased upon treatment with the activator. We propose that the activator peptide conjugates can be used with any mammalian cell, to specifically challenge the calpain system apparently without raising cytoplasmic Ca2+. Such an effector may be a useful tool in dissecting intracellular mechanisms involving the calpain system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology