• Calpain Project

Calpain Project

Molecular mechanism of calpain functions in health

Project Leader Yasuko Ono

Project Leader
Yasuko Ono

Yasuko Ono has been the leader of the Calpain Project since 2018. As a graduate student she studied the roles of calpains, a family of intracellular cysteine proteases, in muscle functions, and received her Ph.D in 1999 from the University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Science. She then studied mechanisms of sarcomere assembly as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arizona. Her current research includes studying the physiological impact of calpain-mediated proteolysis on cellular functions and understanding mechanisms of calpain regulation.


Calpain is an enzyme that regulates cells and thus, biological organisms, by separating various intracellular proteins and converting their function and structure. For this reason, interruption to the effective working of calpain will lead to the incidence of various diseases, such as muscular dystrophy and bleeding stomach.

This project indicates directions for the diagnosis and treatment of disease by analyzing how calpain adjusts the function of cells at the molecular level and clarifying the mechanisms behind the onset of these diseases.


  • To analyze the action mechanism of calpain at the molecular level and clarify its physiological function
  • To analyze the disease onset mechanisms in disease models such as mice with genetic modifications to calpain and other enzymes.
  • To analyze changes in related molecules in diseases marked by calpain deficiency and point out directions for diagnosis and treatment


Project Leader Yasuko Ono

  • Shoji Hata
  • Chihiro Hisatsune
  • Atsushi Irie
  • Fumiko Shinkai-Ouchi
  • Aya Noguchi