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Inhibition, Calcineurin Activity leads to Interference, nuclear localization of NFAT
Key Event Relationship Overview
AOPs Referencing Relationship
|AOP Name||Adjacency||Weight of Evidence||Quantitative Understanding||Point of Contact||Author Status||OECD Status|
|Inhibition of Calcineurin Activity Leading to Impaired T-Cell Dependent Antibody Response||adjacent||Moderate||Moderate||Takumi Ohishi (send email)||Open for comment. Do not cite||EAGMST Under Review|
Life Stage Applicability
|All life stages||High|
Key Event Relationship Description
The phosphatase activity of calcineurin (CN) is known to be inhibited by CN inhibitors (CNIs) such as FK506 and cyclosporin A (CsA) through the formation of complexes with immunophilins.
Immunophilins of FK506-binding protein (FKBP) and cyclophilin bind with CNIs FK506 and CsA to form complexes, which inhibit CN activity (Barik. 2006).
While FKBP12, FKBP12.6, FKBP13, and FKBP52 are all part of the FK506-binding FKBP family, FKBP12 has a significant involvement in the mechanism of action for FK506-induced immunosuppression (Siekierka et al. 1989, Kang et al. 2008).
FKBP12 is a 12-kDa protein localized in cytoplasm and has been isolated from Jurkat T-cells as a receptor that binds to FK506 (Bram et al. 1993). FKBP12 has an FK506-binding domain (FKBD) that comprises 108 amino acids, and is expressed in T cells, B cells, Langerhans cells, and mast cells (Siekierka et al. 1990, Panhans-Gross et al. 2001, Hultsch et al. 1991).
Cyclophilin and FKBP both exhibit peptidyl propyl isomerase (PPIase) activity, but inhibition of PPIase activity is not related to CN regulation.
CN is a heterodimer that comprises a catalytic subunit (CnA) and a Ca-binding regulatory subunit (CnB). CnA handles phosphatase activity as well as calmodulin binding, and CnB regulates intracellular calcium and CnA (Klee et al. 1988, Zhang et al. 1996). CnA is a 59kDa protein with a serine-threonine phosphatase domain.
CNI-immunophilin complexes such as FK506/FKBP complexes and cyclophilin/CsA complexes bind directly to CnA in the cell, causing steric hindrance of substrate binding to CN, which in turn inhibits phosphatase activity of CN (Schreiber and Crabtree 1992, Liu et al. 1993, Bierer et al. 1993, Bram et al. 1993, Rao et al. 1997, Liu et al. 1991).
The nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) is a substrate of CN (Rao et al. 1997).
When T-cell activation takes place, T-cell–receptor-mediated stimulus increases the intracellular concentration of calcium and activates CnB, which subsequently induces CnA phosphatase activation, leading to dephosphorylation of NFAT. In that process, dephosphorylated SP motifs expose the nuclear localization signal (NLS) and cover nuclear export signal (NES), thereby promoting nuclear localization of NFAT (Matsuda and Koyasu 2000, Zhu and McKeon 1999).
When CN activity is inhibited by the binding of immunophilin complexes, dephosphorylation does not occur in NFAT, thereby resulting in nuclear export.
Evidence Supporting this KER
The molecular structures and functions of CN and NFAT are based on sufficient scientific evidence as mentioned above The known mechanisms for inhibition of CN phosphatase activity by FK506, CsA, or other CNIs are initiated by the formation of complexes with their respective immunophilin species. Immunophilins are general classes of proteins that exhibit PPlase activity, but the isomerase activity per se is not relevant for CN activity indicating that the latter is affected by the molecular structure of the complex (Schreiber and Crabtree 1992, Liu et al. 1993, Bierer et al. 1993, Bram et al. 1993, Rao et al. 1997, Liu et al. 1991).
As mentioned above, inhibition of CN phosphatase activity interferes with the dephosphorylation of NFAT, which leads to the suppression of its nuclear localization.
Uncertainties and Inconsistencies
CN and NFAT are expressed in T cells and other immune cells including B cells, DC, and NKT cells and related to cytokine productions from these immune cells. Also, expression of IL-2 receptors (IL-2R) in DCs are lowered due to the inhibition of CN phosphatase activity by CNI treatment. Of these, reduced production of IL-2 and IL-4 from T cells plays a major role in suppression of TDAR due to lower proliferation, differentiation, and class switching of B cells. There have been no reports of CNI-induced reduction of cytokines other than IL-2 and IL-4 or reduced expression of IL-2R resulting in TDAR suppression.
FKBP12, a specific immunophilin that binds with FK506, is also an accessory molecule that binds to IP3 and Ryanodine receptors, both of which occur in Ca channels located on the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum and participate in the regulation of intracellular Ca concentration. When binding with FK506, FKBP12 leaves these receptors to increase the influx of Ca2+ from the endoplasmic reticulum to cytoplasm, which should increase CN activity. Treatment with FK506, however, suppresses NFAT nuclear localization. In addition, FKBP12-knock out mice show no changes in immune function, including T-cell function. These facts suggest that the inhibition of CN-NFAT systems induced by FK506 treatment results from direct inhibition of CN phosphatase activity by FK506/FKBP12 complexes and not by affecting Ryanodine and IP3 receptors associated with FKBP12.
Dose-response analysis of the effects of FK506 on CN phosphatase activity in mast cell-derived KiSVMC4W cells transfected with human FKBP12 cDNA showed that increased expression of FKBP12 resulted in a greater than ten-fold increase in sensitivity to FK506-mediated inhibition, as indicated by an IC50 value of roughly 2 nM with linear inverse dose-response curve after 1 hour incuvation (Fruman et al.1995). Another phosphatase assay showed that FK506 inhibition of CN activity was concentration-dependent reverse sigmoidal and that IC50 values for CN inhibition were approximately 0.5 nM for FK 506 and 5 nM for CsA after 1 hour culture (Fruman et al.1992).
Dose-dependent interference with nuclear translocation of NFAT1 was observed with increasing CNI concentrations from 0.1 nM (Jurkat human T cells) up to 1 μM (1000 nM) using imaging flowcytometry. Higher concentrations induced cellular toxicity and resulted in cell death. Dose-dependent interference of nuclear NFAT1 translocation per CN inhibition was also observed in CD4+ T cells from healthy donors, again at maximal concentrations of 1 μM with minimum concentration of 10nM (Maguire et al. 2013).
So far, there is no evidence available that the dose response of inhibition of CN phosphatase activity is correlated with nuclear translocation of NFAT; however, the concentration ranges of CNIs for inhibition of CN phosphatase activity and nuclear translocation of NFAT seem to be the same range.
Inhibition of CN phosphatase activity was examined after 1 hour culture of T cells (Fruman et al.1995, Fruman et al.1992), and inhibition of nuclear translocation of NFAT was measured by imaging flowcytometry after 2 hour culture of T cells with CNI (Maguire et al. 2013).
Known modulating factors
At present, no evidence is found.
Known Feedforward/Feedback loops influencing this KER
At present, no evidence is found.
Domain of Applicability
CN is broadly distributed throughout the body, and the structure of CnA and CnB is highly conserved from yeasts to humans (Kincaid. 1993).
NFAT expresses in B cells, mast cells, neutrophils, granulocytes, dendritic cells, macrophages, and natural killer cells as well as T cells from humans, rodents and other mammalian species (Rao et al. 1997).
FKBP is found in a wide variety of organisms, from prokaryotes to multicellular organisms (Siekierka et al. 1989). 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 have PPIase activity (Wang P et al. 2005). They form binary complexes with their ligand cyclosporine A.
These facts indicate that CN and immunophilins are conserved among animals and plants although they show multiple physiological functions.
In addition, CNI/immunophilin complex-induced inhibition of CN phosphatase activity resulting in suppression of immune responses is found in humans and mice.
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