NFAT Signaling and Lymphocyte Interactions

Nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) is a transcription factor that relies on calcium for activation, and is critical for the differentiation of T cells and B cells. The NFAT family is comprised of five different proteins that share conserved DNA-binding domains. In T cells, NFAT proteins become activated when TCR engagement with antigen-bound MHC occurs together with calcium influx. The calcium-dependent phosphatase, calcineurin, then dephosphorylates NFAT, allowing NFAT to translocate into the nucleus to regulate gene expression. A number of genes can be activated by NFAT, including genes for CD40L and IL-4, which stimulate surrounding B cells to also turn on NFAT. NFAT activation in B cells helps to regulate immunoglobulin class switching to IgE, which in turn activates NFAT in mast cells/basophils to boost expression of cytokines. Other factors regulated by NFAT in T cells include IL-5, which can stimulate eosinophils, and FasL, which engages Fas receptors on nearby cells to induce cell death.

 

Click on the poster below to view the interactive version.

 

NFAT Signaling and Lymphocyte Interactions

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