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Event: 980

Key Event Title

The KE title should describe a discrete biological change that can be measured. It should generally define the biological object or process being measured and whether it is increased, decreased, or otherwise definably altered relative to a control state. For example “enzyme activity, decreased”, “hormone concentration, increased”, or “growth rate, decreased”, where the specific enzyme or hormone being measured is defined. More help

Inhibition, Calcineurin Activity

Short name
The KE short name should be a reasonable abbreviation of the KE title and is used in labelling this object throughout the AOP-Wiki. The short name should be less than 80 characters in length. More help
Inhibition, Calcineurin Activity

Biological Context

Structured terms, selected from a drop-down menu, are used to identify the level of biological organization for each KE. Note, KEs should be defined within a particular level of biological organization. Only KERs should be used to transition from one level of organization to another. Selection of the level of biological organization defines which structured terms will be available to select when defining the Event Components (below). More help

Cell term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help

Organ term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help

Key Event Components

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.Because one of the aims of the AOP-KB is to facilitate de facto construction of AOP networks through the use of shared KE and KER elements, authors are also asked to define their KEs using a set of structured ontology terms (Event Components). In the absence of structured terms, the same KE can readily be defined using a number of synonymous titles (read by a computer as character strings). In order to make these synonymous KEs more machine-readable, KEs should also be defined by one or more “event components” consisting of a biological process, object, and action with each term originating from one of 22 biological ontologies (Ives, et al., 2017; See List). Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signalling). The biological object is the subject of the perturbation (e.g., a specific biological receptor that is activated or inhibited). Action represents the direction of perturbation of this system (generally increased or decreased; e.g., ‘decreased’ in the case of a receptor that is inhibited to indicate a decrease in the signalling by that receptor).Note that when editing Event Components, clicking an existing Event Component from the Suggestions menu will autopopulate these fields, along with their source ID and description. To clear any fields before submitting the event component, use the 'Clear process,' 'Clear object,' or 'Clear action' buttons. If a desired term does not exist, a new term request may be made via Term Requests. Event components may not be edited; to edit an event component, remove the existing event component and create a new one using the terms that you wish to add. More help
Process Object Action
binding FK506-binding protein 15 increased
binding FKBP12 (Arabidopsis thaliana) increased

Key Event Overview

AOPs Including This Key Event

All of the AOPs that are linked to this KE will automatically be listed in this subsection. This table can be particularly useful for derivation of AOP networks including the KE. Clicking on the name of the AOP will bring you to the individual page for that AOP. More help
AOP Name Role of event in AOP Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
Immunosuppression MolecularInitiatingEvent Takumi Ohishi (send email) Open for comment. Do not cite EAGMST Under Review


This is a structured field used to identify specific agents (generally chemicals) that can trigger the KE. Stressors identified in this field will be linked to the KE in a machine-readable manner, such that, for example, a stressor search would identify this as an event the stressor can trigger. NOTE: intermediate or downstream KEs in one AOP may function as MIEs in other AOPs, meaning that stressor information may be added to the KE description, even if it is a downstream KE in the pathway currently under development.Information concerning the stressors that may trigger an MIE can be defined using a combination of structured and unstructured (free-text) fields. For example, structured fields may be used to indicate specific chemicals for which there is evidence of an interaction relevant to this MIE. By linking the KE description to a structured chemical name, it will be increasingly possible to link the MIE to other sources of chemical data and information, enhancing searchability and inter-operability among different data-sources and knowledgebases. The free-text section “Evidence for perturbation of this MIE by stressor” can be used both to identify the supporting evidence for specific stressors triggering the MIE as well as to define broad chemical categories or other properties that classify the stressors able to trigger the MIE for which specific structured terms may not exist. More help

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) can be selected from an ontology. In many cases, individual species identified in these structured fields will be those for which the strongest evidence used in constructing the AOP was available in relation to this KE. More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
Homo sapiens Homo sapiens High NCBI
Mus musculus Mus musculus High NCBI
Rattus rattus Rattus rattus High NCBI

Life Stages

The structured ontology terms for life-stage are more comprehensive than those for taxa, but may still require further description/development and explanation in the free text section. More help
Life stage Evidence
All life stages High

Sex Applicability

No help message More help
Term Evidence
Unspecific High

Key Event Description

A description of the biological state being observed or measured, the biological compartment in which it is measured, and its general role in the biology should be provided. For example, the biological state being measured could be the activity of an enzyme, the expression of a gene or abundance of an mRNA transcript, the concentration of a hormone or protein, neuronal activity, heart rate, etc. The biological compartment may be a particular cell type, tissue, organ, fluid (e.g., plasma, cerebrospinal fluid), etc. The role in the biology could describe the reaction that an enzyme catalyses and the role of that reaction within a given metabolic pathway; the protein that a gene or mRNA transcript codes for and the function of that protein; the function of a hormone in a given target tissue, physiological function of an organ, etc. Careful attention should be taken to avoid reference to other KEs, KERs or AOPs. Only describe this KE as a single isolated measurable event/state. This will ensure that the KE is modular and can be used by other AOPs, thereby facilitating construction of AOP networks. More help

Calcineurin (CN) is a heterodimer that comprises a catalytic subunit (CnA), which handles phosphatase activity as well as calmodulin binding, and a Ca-binding regulatory subunit (CnB), which regulates intracellular calcium as well as CnA (Klee et al. 1988, Zhang et al. 1996). CnA, a 59kDa protein, has a serine-threonine phosphatase domain.

Immunophilins are a general class of proteins that exhibit peptidyl-propyl isomerase (PPIase) activity (Barik. 2006) and an immunophilin-CN inhibitor (CNI) complex such as FKBP12- FK506 and cyclophilin-CsA binds directly to CnA in the cell, causing steric hindrance of substrate binding to CN, which inhibits the phosphatase activity of CN without any contribution of PPIase activity (Schreiber and Crabtree 1992, Liu et al. 1993, Bierer et al. 1993, Bram et al. 1993, Rao et al. 1997, Liu et al. 1991).

How It Is Measured or Detected

One of the primary considerations in evaluating AOPs is the relevance and reliability of the methods with which the KEs can be measured. The aim of this section of the KE description is not to provide detailed protocols, but rather to capture, in a sentence or two, per method, the type(s) of measurements that can be employed to evaluate the KE and the relative level of scientific confidence in those measurements. Methods that can be used to detect or measure the biological state represented in the KE should be briefly described and/or cited. These can range from citation of specific validated test guidelines, citation of specific methods published in the peer reviewed literature, or outlines of a general protocol or approach (e.g., a protein may be measured by ELISA).Key considerations regarding scientific confidence in the measurement approach include whether the assay is fit for purpose, whether it provides a direct or indirect measure of the biological state in question, whether it is repeatable and reproducible, and the extent to which it is accepted in the scientific and/or regulatory community. Information can be obtained from the OECD Test Guidelines website and the EURL ECVAM Database Service on Alternative Methods to Animal Experimentation (DB-ALM). ?

Phosphatase activity can be measured using a phosphatase assay. CN, calmodulin, FK506, and FKBP are incubated together, and the phosphatase activity is measured at various concentrations of FKBP. Kinetic analysis of FKBP12 concentration-dependent phosphatase activity and calculation of Ki inhibition of CN by the FKBP12-FK506 complex are conducted. (Bram et al. 1993). Phosphatase activity of CN in the presence of cyclosporin A (CsA) , gossypol or dibefurin  can also be determined in the similar manner (Sieber et al. 2009).

Immunophilin-CNI complexes directly inhibit phosphatase activity of CN, therefore, as a surrogate measurement of the CN activity, the binding of CsA with cyclophilin can be detected using an ELISA kit. Microtiter plates precoated with BSA and conjugated to cyclosporin are incubated with cyclophilin. Bound cyclophilin is then revealed by incubation with anti-cyclophilin rabbit antiserum followed by incubation with anti-rabbit globulin goat IgG coupled to alkaline phosphatase (Quesniaux et al. 1987).

Domain of Applicability

This free text section should be used to elaborate on the scientific basis for the indicated domains of applicability and the WoE calls (if provided). While structured terms may be selected to define the taxonomic, life stage and sex applicability (see structured applicability terms, above) of the KE, the structured terms may not adequately reflect or capture the overall biological applicability domain (particularly with regard to taxa). Likewise, the structured terms do not provide an explanation or rationale for the selection. The free-text section on evidence for taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability can be used to elaborate on why the specific structured terms were selected, and provide supporting references and background information.  More help

CN is broadly distributed in T-cells, B‑cells, and throughout the body. The structure of CnA and CnB is highly conserved from yeasts to humans. Also highly conserved are the amino acid sequences of the catalytic and regulatory domains of CnA isoforms from different organisms (Kincaid. 1996).

As for immunophilins, of which complexes inhibit the CN activity, FKBP is found in a wide variety of organisms, from prokaryotes to multicellular organisms (Siekierka et al. 1989a). Multiple subfamilies of FKBP have been reported, with at least eight types having been found in mammals. FKBP12 is reported to be expressed in B-cells, Langerhans cells and mast cells as well as in T-cells of humans, mice and other mammalian species.

Cyclophilins have been found in mammals, plants, insects, fungi and bacteria. They are structurally conserved throughout evolution and all living beings have PPIase activity (Wang P et al. 2005).

However, inhibition of CN phosphatase activity through immunophilin-CNI complex has been reported at least in rodents and humans.

Evidence for Perturbation by Stressor

Overview for Molecular Initiating Event

When a specific MIE can be defined (i.e., the molecular target and nature of interaction is known), in addition to describing the biological state associated with the MIE, how it can be measured, and its taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability, it is useful to list stressors known to trigger the MIE and provide evidence supporting that initiation. This will often be a list of prototypical compounds demonstrated to interact with the target molecule in the manner detailed in the MIE description to initiate a given pathway (e.g., 2,3,7,8-TCDD as a prototypical AhR agonist; 17α-ethynyl estradiol as a prototypical ER agonist). Depending on the information available, this could also refer to chemical categories (i.e., groups of chemicals with defined structural features known to trigger the MIE). Known stressors should be included in the MIE description, but it is not expected to include a comprehensive list. Rather initially, stressors identified will be exemplary and the stressor list will be expanded over time. For more information on MIE, please see pages 32-33 in the User Handbook.

CN inhibitory activities (IC50) are shown in follows.

Tacrorimus:  0.4nM

Cyclosporin:  7nM

Pimecrolimus:  0.4 nM

Dodecylbenzene sulfonate  9.3 uM

Dibefurin:  44  uM

Gossypol:  17 uM

Ascomycin:  0.7 nM

1,5-dibenzoyloxymethyl-norcantharidin:  7 uM

Kaempferol:  51.3 uM


List of the literature that was cited for this KE description. Ideally, the list of references, should conform, to the extent possible, with the OECD Style Guide ( (OECD, 2015). More help
  1. Barik, S. (2006). Immunophilins: for the love of proteins. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 63(24): 2889-900.
  2. Bierer, B.E., Holländer, G., Fruman, D. and Burakoff, S.J. (1993). Cyclosporin A and FK506: molecular mechanisms of immunosuppression and probes for transplantation biology. Current opinion in immunology 5 (5): 763-73.
  3. Bram, R.J., Hung, D.T., Martin, P.K., Schreiber, S.L. and Crabtree, G.R. (1993). Identification of the immunophilins capable of mediating inhibition of signal transduction by cyclosporin A and FK506: roles of calcimeurin binding and cellular location. Molecular and cellular biology 13 (8): 4760-9.
  4. Cameron, A.M., Nucifora, F.C. Jr., Fung, E.T., Livingston, D.J., Aldape, R.A., Ross, C.A. and Snyder, S.H. (1997). FKBP12 binds the inositol 1, 4, 5-trisphosphate receptor at leucine-proline (1400-1401) and anchors calcineurin to this FK506-like domain. The Journal of biological chemistry 272 (44): 27582-8.
  5. Hultsch, T., Albers, M. W., Schreiber, S.L. and Hohman, R. J. (1991). Immunophilin ligands demonstrate common features of signal transduction leading to exocytosis or transcription. Proceedings of the national academic science of the United States of America. 14: 6229-6233.
  6. Kang, C. B., Hong, Y., Dhe-Paganon, S. and Yoon, H. S. (2008). FKBP family proteins: immunophilins with versatile biological function. Neurosignals. 16: 318-325.
  7. Kincaid, R..L. (1993). Calmodulin-dependent protein phosphatases from microorganisms to man. A study in structural conservatism and biological diversity. Adv Second Messenger Phosphoprotein Res. 1993;27:1-23.
  8. Klee, C. B., Draetta, G. F. and Hubbard, M. J. (1988). Calcineurin. Advances in enzymology and related areas of molecular biology. 61:149-200.
  9. Liu, J., Farmer, J. D. Jr., Lane, W. S., Friedman, J., Weissman, I., and Schreiber, S. L. (1991). Calcineurin is a common target of cyclophilin-cyclosporin A and FKBP-FK506 complexes. Cell. 66(4): 807-815.
  10. Liu, J. (1993). FK506 and cyclosporin, molecular probes for studying intracellular signal transduction. Immunology today. 14(6): 290-305.
  11. Quesniaux VF, Schreier MH, Wenger RM, Hiestand PC, Harding MW, Van Regenmortel MH(1987). Cyclophilin binds to the region of cyclosporine involved in its immunosuppressive activity.
  12. Panhans-Gross, A., Novak, N., Kraft, S., and Bieber, T. (2001). Human epidermal Langerhans’ cells are targets for the immunosuppressive macrolide tacrolimus (FK506). Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 107(2): 345-52.
  13. Rao, A., Luo, C., and Hogan, PG. (1997). Transcription factors of the NFAT family: regulation and function. Annual Review of Immunology 15: 707-47.
  14. Schreiber, SL., and Crabtree, GR. (1992). The mechanism of action of cyclosporin A and FK506. Immunology Today 13(4): 136-42.
  15. Sieber M., Baumgrass R., (2009). Cell Commun Signal Oct 27;7:2.
  16. Siekierka, JJ., Hung, SH., Poe, M., Lin, CS., and Sigal, NH. (1989a). A cytosolic binding protein for the immunosuppressant FK506 has peptidyl-prolyl isomerase activity but is distinct from cyclophilin. Nature 341(6244): 755-57.
  17. Siekierka, JJ., Wiederrecht, G., Greulich, H., Boulton, D., Hung, SH., Cryan, J., Hodges, PJ., and Sigal, NH. (1990). The cytosolic-binding protein for the immunosuppressant FK-506 is both a ubiquitous an highly conserved peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase. Journal of Biological Chemistry 265(34): 21011-5.
  18. Zhang, B.W., Zimmer, G., Chen, J., Ladd, D., Li, E., Alt, F.W., Wiederrecht, G., Cryan, J., O'Neill, E.A., Seidman, C.E., Abbas, A.K. and Seidman, J.G.. (1996). T cell responses in calcineurin A alpha-deficient mice. Journal of experimental medicine 183(2): 413-20.