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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2001 Oct;11(5):505-12.

NFAT signaling in vertebrate development.

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Department of Developmental Biology, Stanford University Medical School, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


NFATc proteins transduce Ca(2+) signals to the nucleus and then pair with other proteins on DNA to generate NFAT complexes that activate transcription in response to both electrical and tyrosine kinase signaling. The four NFATc genes arose at the origin of vertebrates, implying that they have evolved for the development of vertebrate-specific functions, such as a complex nervous system, a recombinational immune system, and a vascular system with a complex heart. These speculations are borne out by studies of mice with null mutations in the different family members.

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