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J Immunol. 2007 Feb 1;178(3):1960-6.

Increased levels of NF-ATc2 differentially regulate CD154 and IL-2 genes in T cells from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Department of Cellular Injury, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA.


T cells from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are characterized by heightened TCR-initiated free intracytoplasmic calcium responses. We demonstrate that activated T cells from SLE patients, but not from rheumatoid arthritis patients, displayed higher levels of the calcineurin-dependent transcription factor NF-ATc2 in the nucleus compared with control T cells. DNA NF-AT-binding activity was also increased, as was the amount of NF-ATc2 bound to the promoters of CD154 (CD40L) and IL-2 genes. Nevertheless, although high NF-ATc2 levels translated into higher CD154 transcription in SLE, IL-2 transcription was decreased. The absence of important transcriptional activators (AP-1, NF-kappaBeta) and the presence of transcriptional repressors (cAMP response element modulator) on the IL-2 promoter explain this dichotomous effect.

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