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Nature. 1994 Jun 9;369(6480):497-502.

NF-AT components define a family of transcription factors targeted in T-cell activation.

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  • 1Department of Developmental Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford University Medical School, California 94305.


The NF-AT transcription complex is required for the expression of a group of proteins that collectively coordinate the immune response. Here we purify two proteins encoded by separate genes that represent the pre-existing (p) and cytosolic (c) components of NF-AT. Expression of the full-length complementary DNA encoding NF-ATc activates the interleukin (IL-2) promoter in non-T lymphocytes, whereas a dominant negative of NF-ATc specifically blocks activation of the IL-2 promoter in T lymphocytes, indicating that NF-ATc is required for IL-2 gene expression. NF-ATc RNA expression is largely restricted to lymphoid tissues and is induced upon T-cell activation. The other protein, NF-ATp, is highly homologous to NF-ATc over a limited domain which shows similarity to the Dorsal/Rel family, but has a wider tissue distribution. Agents that increase intracellular Ca2+ or activate protein kinase C independently modify NF-ATc, indicating that distinct signalling pathways converge on NF-ATc to regulate its function.

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