Calpains are ubiquitous, well-conserved family of calcium-dependent, cysteine proteases. The typical calpain proteins are heterodimers consisting of an invariant small subunit and variable large subunits. The large catalytic subunit has four domains: domain I, the N-terminal regulatory domain that is processed upon calpain activation; domain II, the protease domain; domain III, a linker domain of unknown function; and domain IV, the calmodulin-like calcium-binding domain. The heterodimer interface is predominantly found between domain IV and the small subunit, which is also a calmodulin-like calcium-binding domain. This gene encodes a large subunit. It is an atypical calpain in that it lacks the calmodulin-like calcium-binding domain and instead has a divergent C-terminal domain. It therefore cannot heterodimerize with the small subunit. It is similar in organization to calpains 5 and 6. This gene is associated with type 2 or non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) and located within the NIDDM1 region. Multiple alternative transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been described for this gene.
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