Calpain involvement in calphostin C-induced apoptosis

Angelo Spinedi, Serafina Oliverio, Federica Di Sano, Mauro Piacentini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A major problem in assessing the role of calpains in apoptosis induction concerns the fact that calpain inhibitors can also impair the activity of the proteasome, also reported to be involved in apoptosis. Herein we showed that apoptosis induced by calphostin C in U937 human promonocytic leukemia cells was associated, at its onset, with enhanced protein (poly)ubiquitination. This observation prompted us to study whether protein degradation through the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway was involved in apoptosis induction. We found that N-acetyl-Leu-Leu-norleucinal (50 μM), a proteasome as well as a calpain inhibitor, was able to reduce calphostin C-induced apoptosis by approximately 60%, whereas lactacystin (10 μM), a specific proteasome inhibitor, was ineffective. These results suggest that calphostin C-induced apoptosis is partly calpain-mediated, but does not require protein degradation through the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1489-1492
Number of pages4
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1998


  • Apoptosis
  • Calpains
  • Calphostin C
  • Proteasome
  • U937 cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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