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J Immunol. 1999 Feb 15;162(4):2057-63.

Calcium-dependent activation of TNF family gene expression by Ca2+/calmodulin kinase type IV/Gr and calcineurin.

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Yale Child Health Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


CD40 ligand (L), FasL, and TNF-alpha are members of the TNF family of cytokines. All are expressed by T lymphocytes shortly after activation but have distinct effector functions. Transcription of these genes can be induced by stimulation of T cells by calcium ionophore alone and requires the calcineurin-dependent transcription factor NF of activated T cells. We have examined a second calcium-dependent signaling pathway, mediated by calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase IV (CaMKIV) in transcriptional activation of TNF family genes. In reporter gene assays using constructs driven by the promoters of human CD40L, FasL, or TNF-alpha along with vectors expressing constitutively active CaMKIV and calcineurin, we have demonstrated that each promoter is activated by calcineurin and CaMKIV in a synergistic fashion. Furthermore, specific inhibition of CaMKIV by chemical means and by a dominant negative mutant of CaMKIV impairs the ionomycin-induced activity of all three promoters as well as protein expression of CD40L and TNF-alpha. Our results indicate that activation of gene expression by calcineurin and CaMKIV is common to members of the TNF cytokine family.

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