Evidence for the involvement of calpain in cataractogenesis in Shumiya cataract rat (SCR)

Mitsushi Inomata, Kohji Nomura, Makoto Takehana, Takaomi C. Saido, Seiichi Kawashima, Seigo Shumiya

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34 Citations (Scopus)


The Shumiya cataract rat (SCR) is a hereditary cataract model in which lens opacity appears spontaneously in the nuclear and perinuclear portions at 11-12 weeks of age. It was found that the proteolysis of some crystallins and cytoskeletal proteins is significantly enhanced in cataractous SCR lenses. The calcium concentrations in cataractous lenses rise markedly with age as compared with control lenses and the autolytic product of calpain is also detected in cataractous lenses. In order to provide direct evidence for the involvement of calpain in the proteolytic modification of lens proteins, we developed antibodies exclusively specific to the proteolytic products of some lens proteins produced by the action of calpain and analyzed their degradation during cataractogenesis in SCR by Western blotting and immunohistochemical staining. The results demonstrate that calpain participates in the proteolytic modification of lens proteins, at least α- crystallin (A and B chain), βB1-crystallin, and α-fodrin. The proteolytic products formed by the action of calpain on these proteins are detected in cataractous lenses of SCR as young as 8 weeks of age and accumulate with age. It was also found that βB1-crystallin, originally a soluble protein, is converted to an insoluble form by limited calpain proteolysis. The chaperon- like activity of α-crystallin from control lens is markedly reduced by calpain proteolysis in vitro, and α-crystallin in opaque lens that has already undergone proteolysis by calpain shows significantly reduced chaperon-like activity. Immunohistochemical studies reveal that the area where the calpain-mediated α-crystallin proteolysis is in progress coincides well with the area developing and destined to develop the opacification. These results strongly suggest that calpain may contribute to lens opacification during cataract formation in SCR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-23
Number of pages13
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Nov 28
Externally publishedYes


  • Calpain
  • Chaperon-like activity
  • Crystallin
  • Hereditary cataract
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Proteolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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