Precise Prediction of Calpain Cleavage Sites and Their Aberrance Caused by Mutations in Cancer

Front Genet. 2019 Aug 8;10:715. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.00715. eCollection 2019.


As a widespread post-translational modification of proteins, calpain-mediated cleavage regulates a broad range of cellular processes, including proliferation, differentiation, cytoskeletal reorganization, and apoptosis. The identification of proteins that undergo calpain cleavage in a site-specific manner is the necessary foundation for understanding the exact molecular mechanisms and regulatory roles of calpain-mediated cleavage. In contrast with time-consuming and labor-intensive experimental methods, computational approaches for detecting calpain cleavage sites have attracted wide attention due to their efficiency and convenience. In this study, we established a novel computational tool named DeepCalpain ( for predicting the potential calpain cleavage sites by adopting deep neural network and the particle swarm optimization algorithm. Through critical evaluation and comparison, DeepCalpain exhibited superior performance against other existing tools. Meanwhile, we found that protein interactions could enrich the calpain-substrate regulatory relationship. Since calpain-mediated cleavage was critical for cancer development and progression, we comprehensively analyzed the calpain cleavage associated mutations across 11 cancers with the help of DeepCalpain, which demonstrated that the calpain-mediated cleavage events were affected by mutations and heavily implicated in the regulation of cancer cells. These prediction and analysis results might provide helpful information to reveal the regulatory mechanism of calpain cleavage in biological pathways and different cancer types, which might open new avenues for the diagnosis and treatment of cancers.

Keywords: calpain; cancer mutation; cleavage site; deep learning; prediction.