A FASEB summer research conference is planned for July 2010 entitled """"""""Biology of Calpains in Health and Disease"""""""". This is the fifth such meeting focusing on calpains and it will be held in Carefree, Arizona. Funds are being requested from three NIH institutes that include NINDS as the primary, with NIA and NIAMS having kindly agreed to accept secondary assignments regarding this application. Funds obtained from these institutes will provide partial support for the meeting. The meeting this year will have two main emphases;1) understanding the biochemical properties of calpains and 2) understanding the role of calpains in various disease processes. Ten stimulating sessions are planned for the meeting including 1) Proteolysis and Cell Death-Keynote talk by Dr. Doug Green, a leading authority on cell death pathways;2) A Tribute to Darrel Goll and Calpains in Animal Science-Dr. Goll, who passed away in July 2008, was a leading investigator on calpains and muscle. He was the first to identify calpains and calpastatin in skeletal and cardiac muscle, and to identify the role of calpains in muscle growth;3) Challenging the System-evaluating the impact of the knockout or overexpression of individual calpain isoforms or the inhibitor calpastatin;4) Roles and Regulation-examining the physiological roles of calpains and regulation of calpain activity;5) Aberrant Roles in Disease-Exploring the contributions of calpains to cardiac hypertrophy, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and parasitic infections including malaria;6) Structure and Function- examining the molecular interactions and diverse roles of the muscle-predominant calpain 3 isoform, as well as the activation of calpains in skeletal muscle following exercise;7) Injury and Biomarkers-discussing the roles of calpains and other proteases in neuronal injury;8) Mechanisms and Inhibitors-the molecular modeling and interactions of calpains and inhibitors, as well as the function of calpain 7;9) Unconventional Calpains-calpain 6, fungal calpain 7, and phytocalpain DEK1;and 10) Future Directions-proteomic identification of calpain substrates and a panel discussion on the future directions of calpain research. A meeting on the biology of the calpains is highly-relevant to the NIH because calpains are involved in both normal and pathological processes. The activities of the house- keeping calpains are important for normal protein turnover and processing of cytoskeletal and membrane proteins in all tissues. Calpain inhibition is a promising therapeutic for acute CNS insults, late-onset neurodegenerative disorders, some forms of muscular dystrophy, cardiac hypertrophy, oncogenic cell transformation and metastasis, diabetes, and several other disorders. Three years have passed since the last meeting on calpain and substantial progress on the genomics, structure activation and roles in disease have been made. The proposed program will provide the forum by which the momentum in this field may be maintained.

Public Health Relevance

A fifth FASEB summer conference focused on the topic of calpains is scheduled for July 2010 which will feature the latest advances in calpain research on both normal and pathological processes including acute CNS insults, late-onset neurodegenerative disorders, some forms of muscular dystrophy, cardiac hypertrophy, oncogenic cell transformation and metastasis, diabetes, and several other disorders. These conferences are held every three years, and there has been considerable progress on the biology of calpains since the previous 2007 meeting.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Conference (R13)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1-SRB-W (37))
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Hicks, Ramona R
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Federation of Amer Soc for Exper Biology
United States
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Geddes, James W; Saatman, Kathryn E (2010) Targeting individual calpain isoforms for neuroprotection. Exp Neurol 226:6-7