When chicken calpain II autolysed in the presence of Ca2+, it underwent limited proteolysis to give peptides of Mr 54,000 and 37,000, and several of Mr approx. 30,000 and 18,000. The autolytic peptides were purified and their N-terminal amino acid sequences determined. By comparison of these sequences with the known sequence of the complete calpain molecule, the autolytic cleavage sites were identified. The structural integrity of the molecule during autolysis was investigated by gel-permeation chromatography. Experiments were also done to test the reversibility of adding EDTA to calpain during autolysis, measured as recoverable enzyme activity assayed in the presence of Ca2+. The results are presented in terms of a model for the structural changes occurring in calpain during autolysis. It was concluded that the loss of enzymic activity, which is a consequence of autolysis, was due to dissociation of the autolytic peptides after cleavage of the calpain large subunit within the third domain.
- © 1987 London: The Biochemical Society