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J Biol Chem. 2005 Aug 19;280(33):29435-43. Epub 2005 Jun 23.

Depolarization of neural cells induces transcription of the Down syndrome critical region 1 isoform 4 via a calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T cells-dependent pathway.

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  • 1Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares, Madrid, Spain.


In this study we showed that the transcriptional regulation of Down syndrome critical region isoform 4 (DSCR1.4) is mediated by the calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) pathway in neural cells. Stimuli that elicit an increase in the intracellular concentrations of calcium, such as membrane depolarization, induced de novo transcription of DSCR1.4, with mRNA expression peaking after 4 h and then declining. Action via the physiologically relevant L-type calcium channel was confirmed by blockade with nifedipine and verapamil. This calcium-dependent transcription of DSCR1.4 was inhibited by the calcineurin inhibitors cyclosporin A and FK506. Deletional analysis showed that the calcium- and calcineurin-dependent activation is mediated by the promoter region between nucleotides -350 and -166, a region that contains putative NFAT-binding motifs. Exogenous NFATc2 potently augmented the DSCR1.4 promoter transcriptional activity, and the involvement of endogenous NFAT signaling pathway in DSCR1.4 transcription was confirmed by the suppression of depolarization-inducible promoter activity with the NFAT inhibitor peptide VIVIT. Exogenous overexpression of DSCR1 protein (calcipressin 1) resulted in the inhibition of the transcription of DSCR1.4 and NFAT-dependent signaling. These findings suggest that calcineurin-dependent induction of DSCR1.4 product may represent an important auto-regulatory mechanism for the homeostatic control of NFAT signaling in neural cells.

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