NFAT regulates calcium-sensing receptor-mediated TNF production

Journal Article
American Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology, vol. 290, iss. 5, pp. F1110-F1117, 2006
Huda Ismail Abdullah, Paulina L. Pedraza, Shoujin Hao, Karin D. Rodland, John C. McGiff, Nicholas R. Ferreri
Because nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) has been implicated in TNF production as well as osmoregulation and salt and water homeostasis, we addressed whether calcium-sensing receptor (CaR)-mediated TNF production in medullary thick ascending limb (mTAL) cells was NFAT dependent. TNF production in response to addition of extracellular Ca2+ (1.2 mM) was abolished in mTAL cells transiently transfected with a dominant-negative CaR construct (R796W) or pretreated with the phosphatidylinositol phospholipase C (PI-PLC) inhibitor U-73122. Cyclosporine A (CsA), an inhibitor of the serine/threonine phosphatase calcineurin, and a peptide ligand, VIVIT, that selectively inhibits calcineurin-NFAT signaling, also prevented CaR-mediated TNF production. Increases in calcineurin activity in cells challenged with Ca2+ were inhibited after pretreatment with U-73122 and CsA, suggesting that CaR activation increases calcineurin activity in a PI-PLC-dependent manner. Moreover, U-73122, CsA, and VIVIT inhibited CaR-dependent activity of an NFAT construct that drives expression of firefly luciferase in transiently transfected mTAL cells. Collectively, these data verify the role of calcineurin and NFAT in CaR-mediated TNF production by mTAL cells. Activation of the CaR also increased the binding of NFAT to a consensus oligonucleotide, an effect that was blocked by U-73122 and CsA, suggesting that a calcineurin- and NFAT-dependent pathway increases TNF production in mTAL cells. This mechanism likely regulates TNF gene transcription as U-73122, CsA, and VIVIT blocked CaR-dependent activity of a TNF promoter construct. Elucidating CaR-mediated signaling pathways that regulate TNF production in the mTAL will be crucial to understanding mechanisms that regulate extracellular fluid volume and salt balance.