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Cell. 1998 May 29;93(5):851-61.

Intramolecular masking of nuclear import signal on NF-AT4 by casein kinase I and MEKK1.

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Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


T cell activation requires the import of NF-AT transcription factors to the nucleus, a process promoted by calcineurin-dependent dephosphorylation and inhibited by poorly understood protein kinases. Here, we report the identification of two protein kinases that oppose NF-AT4 nuclear import. Casein kinase Ialpha directly binds and phosphorylates NF-AT4, resulting in the inhibiton of NF-AT4 nuclear translocation. MEKK1 indirectly suppresses NF-AT4 nuclear import by stabilizing the interaction between NF-AT4 and CKIalpha. CKIalpha thus acts to establish an intramolecular masking of the nuclear location signal on NF-AT4, while MEKK1 augments this mechanism, and may further provide a link to signal transduction pathways regulating NF-AT4.

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