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J Biol Chem. 2000 Jan 7;275(1):197-209.

Ca(2+)-dependent gene expression mediated by MEF2 transcription factors.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Center for Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Ca(2+) induction of a subset of cellular and viral immediate-early activation genes in lymphocytes has been previously mapped to response elements recognized by the MEF2 family of transcription factors. Here, we demonstrate that Ca(2+) activation of MEF2 response elements in T lymphocytes is mediated in synergy by two Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent enzymes, the phosphatase calcineurin, and the kinase type IV/Gr (CaMKIV/Gr), which promote transcription by the MEF2 family members MEF2A and MEF2D. Calcineurin up-regulates the activity of both factors by an NFAT-dependent mechanism, while CaMKIV/Gr selectively and independently activates MEF2D. These results identify MEF2 proteins as effectors of a pathway of gene induction in T lymphocytes which integrates diverse Ca(2+) activation signals and may be broadly operative in several tissues.

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