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Am J Transl Res. 2009 Jan 22;1(2):184-202.

Modulation of NFAT-5, an outlying member of the NFAT family, in human keratinocytes and skin.



Cyclosporin A (CsA) and tacrolimus block T cell activation by inhibiting the phosphatase calcineurin and preventing translocation from the cytoplasm to the nucleus of the transcription factor Nuclear Factor of Activated T cells (NFAT). NFAT compose a family of transcription factors that are turned on during T cell activation.


To study the expression of NFAT-5 mRNA and protein in normal human keratinocytes and to investigate the cellular and subcellular pattern of expression of NFAT-5 in normal human skin and psoriasis, and analyze effects of different agonists and ultraviolet radiation on NFAT-5 in normal human skin.


Tissue cultures, Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR), Western analysis, immunostaining, confocal microscopy.


Sequencing of RT-PCR products confirmed the identity of the product that showed 100 % homology with the predicted NFAT-5 sequence. anti-NFAT-5 mainly detected a single band in cultured keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts using Western analysis. Immunohistochemistry showed that epidermal keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts in normal human and psoriatic skin express NFAT-5. NFAT-5 showed predominantly nuclear localization in epidermal keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts within five normal adult skin biopsies. Our data also suggest that UV irradiation reduces NFAT-5 nuclear localization within the epidermis. Unlike NFAT 1-4, NFAT-5/TonEBP was localized to both nucleus and cytoplasm of cultured keratinocytes. Cyclosporin A induces nuclear membrane translocation of NFAT-5 in cultured keratinocytes and raffinose (a hypertonicity inducing agent) induces more nuclear localization of NFAT-5 compared to untreated cells. In addition, differentiation-promoting agonists that induce sustained rise in intracellular calcium did not result in changes in NFAT-5 localization in cultured keratinocytes.


These studies provide the first observation of expression of NFAT-5/TonEBP mRNA protein in cultured keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts and possible functional regulation in cultured keratinocytes. CsA and raffinose effects on NFAT-5/TonEBP in cultured keratinocytes suggest diverse intracellular signaling pathways for NFAT-5/TonEBP in these cells, and that NFAT-5/TonEBP might function to translate different extracellular stimuli into appropriate functional responses.


Cyclosporin A (CsA); Human keratinocytes; Hypertonicity; NFAT-5 (TonEBP); UVR; psoriasis

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