Down-regulation of MyoD by calpain 3 promotes generation of reserve cells in C2C12 myoblasts

Pascal Stuelsatz, Frédéric Pouzoulet, Yann Lamarre, Elise Dargelos, Sylvie Poussard, Serge Leibovitch, Patrick Cottin, Philippe Veschambre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Calpain 3 is a calcium-dependent cysteine protease that is primarily expressed in skeletal muscle and is implicated in limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A. To date, its best characterized function is located within the sarcomere, but this protease is found in other cellular compartments, which suggests that it exerts multiple roles. Here, we present evidence that calpain 3 is involved in the myogenic differentiation process. In the course of in vitro culture of myoblasts to fully differentiated myotubes, a population of quiescent undifferentiated "reserve cells" are maintained. These reserve cells are closely related to satellite cells responsible for adult muscle regeneration. In the present work, we observe that reserve cells express higher levels of endogenous Capn3 mRNA than proliferating myoblasts. We show that calpain 3 participates in the establishment of the pool of reserve cells by decreasing the transcriptional activity of the key myogenic regulator MyoD via proteolysis independently of the ubiquitin-proteasome degradation pathway. Our results identify calpain 3 as a potential new player in the muscular regeneration process by promoting renewal of the satellite cell compartment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12670-12683
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 23 2010
Externally publishedYes


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