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Cell Commun Signal. 2009 Oct 27;7:25. doi: 10.1186/1478-811X-7-25.

Novel inhibitors of the calcineurin/NFATc hub - alternatives to CsA and FK506?

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Deutsches Rheuma-Forschungszentrum Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, D-10117 Berlin, Germany.


The drugs cyclosporine A (CsA) and tacrolimus (FK506) revolutionized organ transplantation. Both compounds are still widely used in the clinic as well as for basic research, even though they have dramatic side effects and modulate other pathways than calcineurin-NFATc, too. To answer the major open question - whether the adverse side effects are secondary to the actions of the drugs on the calcineurin-NFATc pathway - alternative inhibitors were developed. Ideal inhibitors should discriminate between the inhibition of (i) calcineurin and peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerases (PPIases; the matchmaker proteins of CsA and FK506), (ii) calcineurin and the other Ser/Thr protein phosphatases, and (iii) NFATc and other transcription factors. In this review we summarize the current knowledge about novel inhibitors, synthesized or identified in the last decades, and focus on their mode of action, specificity, and biological effects.

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