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J Leukoc Biol. 2004 Nov;76(5):1057-65. Epub 2004 Aug 3.

Expression and regulation of NFAT (nuclear factors of activated T cells) in human CD34+ cells: down-regulation upon myeloid differentiation.

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Department of Medicine I, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, University of Dresden Technical Center, Germany.


The calcineurin-dependent, cyclosporin A (CsA)-sensitive transcription factor nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) represents a group of proteins, which is well-characterized as a central regulatory element of cytokine expression in activated T cells. In contrast, little is known about the expression or function of NFAT family members in myeloid cells; moreover, it is unclear whether they are expressed by hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Here, we show that NFATc2 (NFAT1) is expressed at high levels in CD34+ cells and megakaryocytes but not in cells committed to the neutrophilic, monocytic, or erythroid lineages. Cytokine-induced in vitro differentiation of CD34+ cells into neutrophil granulocytes results in the rapid suppression of NFATc2 RNA and protein. NFATc2 dephosphorylation/rephosphorylation as well as nuclear/cytoplasmic translocation in CD34+ cells follow the same calcineurin-dependent pattern as in T lymphocytes, suggesting that NFATc2 activation in these cells is equally sensitive to inhibition with CsA. Finally, in vitro proliferation, but not differentiation, of CD34+ cells cultured in the presence of fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 ligand (FLT3L), stem cell factor, granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interleukin-3, and G-CSF is profoundly inhibited by treatment with CsA in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest a novel and unexpected role for members of the NFAT transcription factor family in the hematopoietic system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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