The calpastatin-derived calpain inhibitor CP1B reduces mRNA expression of matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 and invasion by leukemic THP-1 cells

Biol Chem. 2003 Jun;384(6):951-8. doi: 10.1515/BC.2003.107.


The ubiquitous proteases mu- and m-calpain are Ca(2+)-dependent cysteine endopeptidases. Besides involvement in a variety of physio(patho)logical processes, recent studies suggest a pivotal role of calpains in differentiation of hematopoietic cells and tumor cell invasion. However, the precise actions of calpains and their endogenous inhibitor, calpastatin, in these processes are only partially understood. Here we have studied the role of the calpain/calpastatin system in the invasion of leukemic cells under basal and differentiation-stimulating conditions. To further differentiate the human leukaemic cell line THP-1 (monocytic), the cells were treated for 24 hours with the differentiation-stimulating reagents phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). Macrophage- and granulocyte-like differentiation was confirmed by induction of vimentin expression as well as by microscopic and fluorescence-assisted cytometric analysis. Extracellular matrix (ECM) invasion of both the basal and differentiation-stimulated cells in a Matrigel assay was inhibited by pre-incubation of the cells with the specific calpain inhibitor CP1B for 24 hours. Inhibition of invasiveness correlated with decreased mRNA expression and secretion of the matrix metalloproteinases MMP-2 and MMP-9. In contrast, addition of CP1B only during the invasion process did neither influence transmigration nor MMP release. This is the first report showing that the calpain/calpastatin system mediates MMP-mRNA expression of the leukemic THP-1 cells and as a consequence their invasiveness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects*
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Glycoproteins / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / drug therapy
  • Leukemia / enzymology*
  • Leukemia / genetics
  • Leukemia / pathology*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2 / genetics*
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9 / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • calpain inhibitors
  • calpastatin
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 2
  • Matrix Metalloproteinase 9