Potential Role of Gene Regulator NFAT5 in the Pathogenesis of Diabetes Mellitus
ABSTRACT: Nuclear factor of activated T cells 5 (NFAT5), a Rel/nuclear factor- (NF-) ?B family member, is the only known gene regulator of the mammalian adaptive response to osmotic stress. Exposure to elevated glucose increases the expression and nuclear translocation of NFAT5, as well as NFAT5-driven transcriptional activity in vivo and in vitro. Increased expression of NFAT5 is closely correlated with the progression of diabetes in patients. The distinct structure of NFAT5 governs its physiological and pathogenic roles, indicating its opposing functions. The ability of NFAT5 to maintain cell homeostasis and proliferation is impaired in patients with diabetes. NFAT5 promotes the formation of aldose reductase, pathogenesis of diabetic vascular complications, and insulin resistance. Additionally, NFAT5 activates inflammation at a very early stage of diabetes and induces persistent inflammation. Recent studies revealed that NFAT5 is an effective therapeutic target for diabetes. Here, we describe the current knowledge about NFAT5 and its relationship with diabetes, focusing on its diverse regulatory functions, and highlight the importance of this protein as a potential therapeutic target in patients with diabetes.
Project description:The transcription factor NFAT5/TonEBP, a member of the NFAT/Rel family of transcription factors, has been implicated in diverse cellular responses, including the response to osmotic stress, integrin-dependent cell migration, T cell activation, and the Ras pathway in Drosophila. To clarify the in vivo role of NFAT5, we generated NFAT5-null mice. Homozygous mutants were genetically underrepresented after embryonic day 14.5. Surviving mice manifested a progressive and profound atrophy of the kidney medulla with impaired activation of several osmoprotective genes, including those encoding aldose reductase, Na+/Cl--coupled betaine/gamma-aminobutyric acid transporter, and the Na+/myo-inositol cotransporter. The aldose reductase gene is controlled by a tonicity-responsive enhancer, which was refractory to hypertonic stress in fibroblasts lacking NFAT5, establishing this enhancer as a direct transcriptional target of NFAT5. Our findings demonstrate a central role for NFAT5 as a tonicity-responsive transcription factor required for kidney homeostasis and function.
Project description:The transcription factor NFAT5, also known as TonEBP, belongs to the family of Rel homology domain-containing factors, which comprises the NF-?B proteins and the calcineurin-dependent NFAT1 to NFAT4. NFAT5 shares several structural and functional features with other Rel-family factors, for instance it recognizes DNA elements with the same core sequence as those bound by NFAT1 to 4, and like NF-?B it responds to Toll-like receptors (TLR) and activates macrophage responses to microbial products. On the other hand, NFAT5 is quite unique among Rel-family factors as it can be activated by hyperosmotic stress caused by elevated concentrations of extracellular sodium ions. NFAT5 regulates specific genes but also others that are inducible by NF-?B and NFAT1 to 4. The ability of NFAT5 to do so in response to hypertonicity, microbial products, and inflammatory stimuli may extend the capabilities of immune cells to mount effective anti-pathogen responses in diverse microenvironment and signaling conditions. Recent studies identifying osmostress-dependent and -independent functions of NFAT5 have broadened our understanding of how NFAT5 may modulate immune function. In this review we focus on the role of NFAT5 in macrophages and T cells in different contexts, discussing findings from in vivo mouse models of NFAT5 deficiency and reviewing current knowledge on its mechanisms of regulation. Finally, we propose several questions for future research.
Project description:NFAT transcription factors are related to NF-kappaB/Rel proteins and form cooperative complexes with Fos and Jun on DNA. We have identified an NFAT-related protein, NFAT5, which differs from the conventional NFAT proteins NFAT1-4 in its structure, DNA binding, and regulation. NFAT5 contains a NFAT-like Rel homology domain, conserves the DNA contact residues of NFAT1-4, and binds DNA sequences similar to those found in the regulatory regions of well-characterized NFAT-dependent genes. However, it lacks the majority of Fos/Jun contact residues and does not bind cooperatively with Fos and Jun to DNA. Unlike NFAT1-4, whose nuclear import is tightly regulated by calcineurin-mediated dephosphorylation, NFAT5 is a constitutively nuclear phosphoprotein regardless of calcineurin activation. These features suggest that unlike the conventional NFAT proteins, NFAT1-4, which activate gene transcription by integrating inputs from calcium/calcineurin and protein kinase C/mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathways, NFAT5 participates in as-yet-unidentified signaling pathways in diverse immune and nonimmune cells.
Project description:The Rel-like transcription factors nuclear factor kappa B (NF-?B) and the calcineurin-dependent nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFATc) control specific points of thymocyte maturation. Thymocytes also express a distinct member of the Rel family, the calcineurin-independent, osmostress response regulator NFAT5. Here we show that IKK? regulates the expression of NFAT5 in thymocytes, which in turn contributes to the survival of T-cell receptor ?? thymocytes and the transition from the ?-selection checkpoint to the double-positive stage in an osmostress-independent manner. NFAT5-deficient thymocytes had normal expression and proximal signaling of the pre-T-cell receptor but exhibited a partial defect in ?-chain allelic exclusion and increased apoptosis. Further analysis showed that NFAT5 regulated the expression of the prosurvival factors A1 and Bcl2 and attenuated the proapoptotic p53/Noxa axis. These findings position NFAT5 as a target of the IKK?/NF-?B pathway in thymocytes and as a downstream effector of the prosurvival role of the pre-T-cell receptor.
Project description:The nuclear factor of activated T cells 5 (NFAT5 or TonEBP) is a Rel family transcriptional activator and is activated by hypertonic conditions. Several studies point to a possible connection between nuclear translocation and DNA binding; however, the mechanism of NFAT5 nuclear translocation and the effect of DNA binding on retaining NFAT5 in the nucleus are largely unknown. Recent experiments showed that different mutations introduced in the DNA-binding loop and dimerization interface were important for DNA binding and some of them decreased the nuclear-cytoplasm ratio of NFAT5. To understand the mechanisms of these mutations, we model their effect on protein dynamics and DNA binding. We show that the NFAT5 complex without DNA is much more flexible than the complex with DNA. Moreover, DNA binding considerably stabilizes the overall dimeric complex and the NFAT5 dimer is only marginally stable in the absence of DNA. Two sets of NFAT5 mutations from the same DNA-binding loop are found to have different mechanisms of specific and nonspecific binding to DNA. The R217A/E223A/R226A (R293A/E299A/R302A using isoform c numbering) mutant is characterized by significantly compromised binding to DNA and higher complex flexibility. On the contrary, the T222D (T298D in isoform c) mutation, a potential phosphomimetic mutation, makes the overall complex more rigid and does not significantly affect the DNA binding. Therefore, the reduced nuclear-cytoplasm ratio of NFAT5 can be attributed to reduced binding to DNA for the triple mutant, while the T222D mutant suggests an additional mechanism at work.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The wood frog, Rana sylvatica, tolerates freezing as a means of winter survival. Freezing is considered to be an ischemic/anoxic event in which oxygen delivery is significantly impaired. In addition, cellular dehydration occurs during freezing because water is lost to extracellular compartments in order to promote freezing. In order to prevent severe cell shrinkage and cell death, it is important for the wood frog to have adaptive mechanisms for osmoregulation. One important mechanism of cellular osmoregulation occurs through the cellular uptake/production of organic osmolytes like sorbitol, betaine, and myo-inositol. Betaine and myo-inositol are transported by the proteins BGT-1 and SMIT, respectively. Sorbitol on the other hand, is synthesized inside the cell by the enzyme aldose reductase. These three proteins are regulated at the transcriptional level by the transcription factor, NFAT5/TonEBP. Therefore, the objective of this study was to elucidate the role of NFAT5/TonEBP in regulating BGT-1, SMIT, and aldose reductase, during dehydration and anoxia in the wood frog muscle, liver, and kidney tissues. METHODS:Wood frogs were subjected to 24 h anoxia-4 h recovery and 40% dehydration-full rehydration experiments. Protein levels of NFAT5, BGT-1, SMIT, and aldose reductase were studied using immunoblotting in muscle, liver, and kidney tissues. RESULTS:Immunoblotting results demonstrated downregulations in NFAT5 protein levels in both liver and kidney tissues during anoxia (decreases by 41% and 44% relative to control for liver and kidney, respectively). Aldose reductase protein levels also decreased in both muscle and kidney tissues during anoxia (by 37% and 30% for muscle and kidney, respectively). On the other hand, BGT-1 levels increased during anoxia in muscle (0.9-fold compared to control) and kidney (1.1-fold). Under 40% dehydration, NFAT5 levels decreased in liver by 53%. Aldose reductase levels also decreased by 42% in dehydrated muscle, and by 35% in dehydrated liver. In contrast, BGT-1 levels increased by 1.4-fold in dehydrated liver. SMIT levels also increased in both dehydrated muscle and liver (both by 0.8-fold). DISCUSSION:Overall, we observed that osmoregulation through an NFAT5-mediated pathway is both tissue- and stress-specific. In both anoxia and dehydration, there appears to be a general reduction in NFAT5 levels resulting in decreased aldose reductase levels, however BGT-1 and SMIT levels still increase in certain tissues. Therefore, the regulation of osmoregulatory genes during dehydration and anoxia occurs beyond the transcriptional level, and it possibly involves RNA processing as well. These novel findings on the osmoregulatory mechanisms utilized by the wood frog advances our knowledge of osmoregulation during anoxia and dehydration. In addition, these findings highlight the importance of using this model to study molecular adaptations during stress.
Project description:The nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT5), also known as a tonicity-responsive enhancer-binding protein, was originally identified as a key transcription factor involved in maintaining cellular homeostasis against hypertonic and hyperosmotic environments. Although NFAT5 has been expressed and studied in various types of hyperosmolar tissues, evidence has emerged that NFAT5 plays a role in the development and activation of immune cells, especially T cells and macrophages. The immune-regulatory function of NFAT5 is achieved by inducing different target genes and different signaling pathways in both tonicity-dependent and -independent manners. Particularly in response to hyperosmotic stress, NFAT5 induces the generation of pathogenic TH17 cells and pro-inflammatory macrophages, contributing to autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Meanwhile, with tonicity-independent stimuli, including activation of the Toll-like receptors and inflammatory cytokines, NFAT5 also can be activated and promotes immune cell survival, proliferation, migration, and angiogenesis. Moreover, under isotonic conditions, NFAT5 has been implicated in the pathogenesis of a variety of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis. This review describes the current knowledge of NFAT5, focusing on its immune-regulatory functions, and it highlights the importance of NFAT5 as a novel therapeutic target for chronic inflammatory diseases.
Project description:Molecular checkpoints that trigger the onset of islet autoimmunity or progression to human type 1 diabetes (T1D) are incompletely understood. Using T cells from children at an early stage of islet autoimmunity without clinical T1D, we find that a microRNA181a (miRNA181a)-mediated increase in signal strength of stimulation and costimulation links nuclear factor of activated T cells 5 (NFAT5) with impaired tolerance induction and autoimmune activation. We show that enhancing miRNA181a activity increases NFAT5 expression while inhibiting FOXP3+ regulatory T cell (Treg) induction in vitro. Accordingly, Treg induction is improved using T cells from NFAT5 knockout (NFAT5ko) animals, whereas altering miRNA181a activity does not affect Treg induction in NFAT5ko T cells. Moreover, high costimulatory signals result in phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-mediated NFAT5, which interferes with FoxP3+ Treg induction. Blocking miRNA181a or NFAT5 increases Treg induction in murine and humanized models and reduces murine islet autoimmunity in vivo. These findings suggest targeting miRNA181a and/or NFAT5 signaling for the development of innovative personalized medicines to limit islet autoimmunity.
Project description:Stress-activated transcription factors influence T-cell function in different physiopathologic contexts. NFAT5, a relative of nuclear factor ?B and the calcineurin-activated NFATc transcription factors, protects mammalian cells from hyperosmotic stress caused by the elevation of extracellular sodium levels. In T cells exposed to hypernatremia, NFAT5 not only induces osmoprotective gene products but also cytokines and immune receptors, which raises the question of whether this factor could regulate other T-cell functions in osmostress-independent contexts. Here we have used mice with a conditional deletion of Nfat5 in mature T lymphocytes to explore osmostress-dependent and -independent functions of this factor. In vitro experiments with CD4 T cells stimulated in hyperosmotic medium showed that NFAT5 enhanced the expression of IL-2 and the Th17-associated gene products ROR?t and IL-23R. By contrast, NFAT5-deficient CD4 T cells activated in vivo by anti-CD3 antibody exhibited a different activation profile and were skewed towards enhanced interferon ? (IFN?) and IL-17 expression and attenuated Treg responses. Using a model of experimental colitis, we observed that mice lacking NFAT5 in T cells exhibited exacerbated intestinal colitis and enhanced expression of IFN? in draining lymph nodes and colon. These results show that NFAT5 can modulate different T-cell responses depending on stress conditions and stimulatory context.
Project description:NFAT5 is an osmoregulated transcription factor that particularly increases expression of genes involved in protection against hypertonicity. Transcription factors often contain unstructured regions that bind co-regulatory proteins that are crucial for their function. The NH2-terminal region of NFAT5 contains regions predicted to be intrinsically disordered. We used peptide aptamer-based affinity chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry to identify protein preys pulled down by one or more overlapping 20 amino acid peptide baits within a predicted NH2-terminal unstructured region of NFAT5. We identify a total of 467 unique protein preys that associate with at least one NH2-terminal peptide bait from NFAT5 in either cytoplasmic or nuclear extracts from HEK293 cells treated with elevated, normal, or reduced NaCl concentrations. Different sets of proteins are pulled down from nuclear vs. cytoplasmic extracts. We used GeneCards to ascertain known functions of the protein preys. The protein preys include many that were previously known, but also many novel ones. Consideration of the novel ones suggests many aspects of NFAT5 regulation, interaction and function that were not previously appreciated, for example, hypertonicity inhibits NFAT5 by sumoylating it and the NFAT5 protein preys include components of the CHTOP complex that desumoylate proteins, an action that should contribute to activation of NFAT5.