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Eur J Immunol. 1998 May;28(5):1467-80.

PMA/ionomycin induces Ig kappa 3' enhancer activity which is in part mediated by a unique NFAT transcription complex.

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The Wellcome/CRC Institute of Cancer and Developmental Biology, Department of Pathology, University of Cambridge, GB.


The Ig kappa 3' enhancer is required for high levels of Ig kappa gene expression. We now show that kappa 3' enhancer function increases five- to eightfold after stimulation of primary murine B cells with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) and the calcium ionophore ionomycin. In the presence of cyclosporin A this induction is almost halved, suggesting that transcription factors of the NFAT family contribute to kappa 3' enhancer induction. Indeed, we identify a novel NFAT binding site which is required for full enhancer function. We find that this site is transcriptionally active in stimulated B cells, T cells and fibroblasts and that both PMA and ionomycin are required for maximal induction. Time course analysis of the components of the protein-DNA complex in primary lymphocytes reveals that both NFATp and NFATc are present in the complex after 15 min, while only NFATc is detectable after 4 h. This suggests that NFATc plays the dominant role in controlling long-term responses of this transcription factor family. Furthermore, JunB, JunD, FosB and cFos form part of the DNA-protein complex in Bal-17 B cells. Complex formation as well as transcriptional activity can also be induced by crosslinking of surface Ig. We have, thus, identified a unique NFAT complex in B cells that contributes to Ig kappa gene expression.

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