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Eur J Biochem. 1999 Sep;264(3):952-9.

Cyclosporin A inhibits Ca2+-mediated upregulation of the DNA repair enzyme DNA polymerase beta in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

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Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Institut für Molekularbiologie, Germany.


Alterations in gene expression may represent an underlying cause of undesired side-effects mediated by the immunosuppressant cyclosporin A (CsA). We employed the method of differential display PCR to identify new genes whose expression is modulated by CsA. Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), or subpopulations thereof, were simultaneously stimulated with the phorbol ester 4beta-phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and the calcium ionophore ionomycin, in the presence or absence of therapeutic concentrations of CsA. We identify the gene encoding the DNA repair enzyme DNA polymerase beta (Pol beta) as a novel CsA-sensitive transcription unit. Our data show that transcription of pol beta mRNA is induced by Ca2+ and that CsA significantly inhibits PMA/ionomycin- and ionomycin-mediated upregulation of both pol beta mRNA and Pol beta protein. The CsA-mediated inhibition of pol beta upregulation is maintained for at least 21 h after gene activation and is exerted via the phosphatase calcineurin. FK506, another immunosuppressant that targets calcineurin, also inhibits pol beta upregulation, while rapamycin competes with FK506 action. This work identifies Ca2+ as an inducer of pol beta gene activity in primary blood cells. The demonstrated CsA sensitivity of this process suggests a novel molecular mechanism that may contribute to the increased tumor incidence in patients receiving CsA treatment.

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