Calpain in the CNS: From Synaptic Function to Neurotoxicity

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Sci. Signal.  08 Apr 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 14, pp. re1
DOI: 10.1126/stke.114re1

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The calpains constitute a class of cellular cysteine proteases that require calcium and are functionally active at neutral pH. In the central nervous system (CNS), controlled activation of calpains may be critical to synaptic function and memory formation. In contrast, physical trauma, or chemical or ischemic insults that lead to a sustained increase in intracellular calcium concentration, may elicit calpain hyperactivation, which is generally associated with severe cellular damage.