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

Calcineurin and NFAT4 induce chondrogenesis.

Nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT) and calcineurin are essential regulators of immune cell and mesenchymal cell differentiation. Here we show that elevated intracellular calcium induces chondrogenesis through a calcineurin/NFAT signaling axis that activates bone morphogenetic protein ( BMP) expression. The calcium ionophore, ionomycin, induced chondrogenesis through activation of calcineurin. The calcineurin substrate, NFAT4, also induced chondrogenesis and chondrocyte gene expression. Significantly, the BMP antagonist, noggin, or dominant negative BMP receptors blocked the effects of elevated intracellular calcium on chondrogenesis. This suggested that calcineurin/NFAT4 activates BMP expression. Consistent with this, BMP2 gene expression was increased by ionomycin and suppressed by the calcineurin inhibitor, cyclosporine A. Furthermore, activated NFAT4 induced BMP2 gene expression. These results have important implications for the effects of NFATs during development and adaptive responses.[1]


  1. Calcineurin and NFAT4 induce chondrogenesis. Tomita, M., Reinhold, M.I., Molkentin, J.D., Naski, M.C. J. Biol. Chem. (2002) [Pubmed]
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