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

Utilization of an NF-ATp binding promoter element for EGR3 expression in T cells but not fibroblasts provides a molecular model for the lymphoid cell-specific effect of cyclosporin A.

Cyclosporin A (CsA) mainly exerts its immunosuppressive action by selectively inhibiting Ca2+/calcineurin-dependent gene transcription in lymphoid cells. A model explaining the tissue-specific effect of this drug on gene expression has not been established to date, since none of the known intracellular targets of CsA (e.g., cyclophilins, calcineurin, and NF-AT) is lymphoid cell specific. To investigate this issue, we performed a detailed comparative analysis of the promoter regulating the two-signal-dependent (Ca2+ ionophore plus phorbol myristate acetate [PMA]), CsA-sensitive expression of EGR3 in T cells and the one-signal-dependent (PMA), CsA-insensitive expression of EGR3 in fibroblasts. As a result, we identified a 27-bp promoter element functionally interacting with transcription factors NF-ATp and NF-ATc that is crucial for the CsA-sensitive expression of the EGR3 gene in T cells. In contrast, the same element was without function in fibroblasts, and other, CsA-insensitive promoter regions were found to be responsible for EGR3 gene expression in these cells. The inactivity of the 27-bp element in fibroblasts was apparently due to insufficient expression levels of NF-ATp, since overexpression of NF-ATp, but not NF-ATc, restored the two-signal phenotype and CsA sensitivity of EGR3 promoter induction in these cells. The differential usage of an NF-AT binding site explains the selective effect of CsA on EGR3 gene expression in T cells versus fibroblasts and may represent one of the basic mechanisms underlying the tissue specificity of CsA.[1]


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