IMR Press / FBS / Volume 1 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.2741/S38

Frontiers in Bioscience-Scholar (FBS) is published by IMR Press from Volume 13 Issue 1 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.

Calpain and the glutamatergic synapse
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1 Division of Neurology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2 Department of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Academic Editor: Rodney Guttmann

Front. Biosci. (Schol Ed) 2009, 1(2), 466–476;
Published: 1 June 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Calpains and neurodegeneration)

Calpain is a ubiquitous protease found in different tissue types and in many organisms including mammals. It generally does not destroy its large variety of substrates, but more commonly disrupts their function. In neurons, many of its substrates become dysregulated as a result of cleavage of their regulatory domain by this protease, leading to altered signaling between cells. In glutamatergic synaptic transmission, direct targets of calpain include all of the major glutamate receptors: NMDA receptors, AMPA receptors and mGluR. By cleaving these receptors and associated intracellular proteins, calpain may regulate the physiology at glutamatergic synapses. As a result, calpain-mediated cleavage in neurons might not only be involved in pathological events like excitotoxicity, but may also have neuroprotective effects and roles in physiological synaptic transmission.

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