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Nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT), which is the pharmacological target of immunosuppressants cyclosporine and tacrolimus, has been shown to play an important role not only in T cells (immune system), from which their name is derived, but also in many biological events. Therefore, functional and/or structural abnormalities of NFAT are linked to the pathogenesis of diseases in various organs. The NFAT protein family consists of five isoforms, and each isoform performs diverse functions and has unique expression patterns in the target tissues. This diversity has made it difficult to obtain ideal pharmacological output for immunosuppressants that inhibit the activity of almost all NFAT family members, causing serious and wide-ranging side effects. Moreover, it remains unclear whether isoform-selective NFAT regulation can be achieved by targeting the structural differences among NFAT isoforms and whether this strategy can lead to the development of better drugs than the existing ones. This review summarizes the role of the NFAT family members in biological events, including the development of various diseases, as well as the usefulness of and problems associated with NFAT-targeting therapies, including those dependent on current immunosuppressants. Finally, we propose a novel therapeutic strategy based on the molecular mechanisms that enable selective regulation of specific NFAT isoforms.

Citation

Noriko Kitamura, Osamu Kaminuma. Isoform-Selective NFAT Inhibitor: Potential Usefulness and Development. International journal of molecular sciences. 2021 Mar 08;22(5)

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PMID: 33800389

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