Identification and characterization of two novel calpain large subunit genes

Gene. 2001 Aug 22;274(1-2):245-52. doi: 10.1016/s0378-1119(01)00599-6.


Calpains are a family of related proteins, some of which have been shown to function as calcium-dependent cysteine proteases. CAPN1 and CAPN2, the most well characterized calpains, consist of a large (80 kDa) and a small (30 kDa) subunit. In mammals, 11 different paralogous genes encoding calpain large subunits have been identified. We report the identification of two further genes, CAPN13 and CAPN14, potentially encoding calpain large subunits. Radiation hybrid mapping localized both genes within a region mapped to 2p21-2p22. The CAPN13 mRNA exhibits a restricted tissue distribution with low levels of expression detected only in human testis and lung while CAPN14 mRNA could not be detected in any of the 76 tissues examined. Examination of the human genome sequence in the public and private consortia databases did not detect any further members of this gene family. Thus, there would seem to be 13 large subunit calpain genes in the human genome. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that the putative calpain large subunit proteins can be divided into three major groups. The 13 human large subunit genes and the single small subunit gene are located in eight syntenic groups on chromosomes 1, 2, 3, 6, 11, 15, 19 and X.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • Calpain / genetics*
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 2 / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Order
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Subunits
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Radiation Hybrid Mapping
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Protein Subunits
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Calpain