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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Defective T cell development and function in calcineurin A beta -deficient mice.

The calcium-dependent phosphatase calcineurin and its downstream transcriptional effector nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) are important regulators of inducible gene expression in multiple cell types. In T cells, calcineurin-NFAT signaling represents a critical event for mediating cellular activation and the immune response. The widely used immunosuppressant agents cyclosporin and FK506 are thought to antagonize the immune response by directly inhibiting calcineurin-NFAT signal transduction in lymphocytes. To unequivocally establish the importance of calcineurin signaling as a mediator of the immune response, we deleted the gene encoding the predominant calcineurin isoform expressed in lymphocytes, calcineurin A beta (CnA beta). CnA beta(-/-) mice were viable as adults, but displayed defective T cell development characterized by fewer total CD3 cells and reduced CD4 and CD8 single positive cells. Total peripheral T cell numbers were significantly reduced in CnA beta(-/-) mice and were defective in proliferative capacity and IL-2 production in response to PMA/ionomycin and T cell receptor cross-linking. CnA beta(-/-) mice also were permissive to allogeneic tumor-cell transplantation in vivo, similar to cyclosporin-treated wild-type mice. A mechanism for the compromised immune response is suggested by the observation that CnA beta(-/-) T cells are defective in stimulation- induced NFATc1, NFATc2, and NFATc3 activation. These results establish a critical role for CnA beta signaling in regulating T cell development and activation in vivo.[1]


  1. Defective T cell development and function in calcineurin A beta -deficient mice. Bueno, O.F., Brandt, E.B., Rothenberg, M.E., Molkentin, J.D. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2002) [Pubmed]
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