The amount of calpastatin directly available in cytosol is under the control of [Ca2+] and [cyclic AMP]. Prolonged calpain activation also promotes degradation of calpastatin. The fluctuation of calpastatin concentration in cell soluble fraction is accompanied by an initial decrease in calpastatin gene expression, followed by a fivefold increase in its expression when the inhibitor protein is degraded. This process can be conceptualized as a mechanism to regulate calpastatin availability in the cell. This conclusion is supported by the fact that calpain, the other component of this proteolytic system, undergoes changes in its levels of expression in a much more limited manner. Furthermore, this process can be observed both in cells exposed to different natural stimuli, or in other cell lines. Modification of calpastatin gene expression might represent a new tool for the in vivo control of the regulatory machinery required for the modulation of Ca(2+)-dependent proteolysis.