Gene Summary

Gene:NFATC2; nuclear factor of activated T cells 2
Aliases: NFAT1, NFATP
Summary:This gene is a member of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) family. The product of this gene is a DNA-binding protein with a REL-homology region (RHR) and an NFAT-homology region (NHR). This protein is present in the cytosol and only translocates to the nucleus upon T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation, where it becomes a member of the nuclear factors of activated T cells transcription complex. This complex plays a central role in inducing gene transcription during the immune response. Alternate transcriptional splice variants encoding different isoforms have been characterized. [provided by RefSeq, Apr 2012]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:nuclear factor of activated T-cells, cytoplasmic 2
Source:NCBIAccessed: 29 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (22)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
Show (18)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 29 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 29 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (7)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: NFATC2 (cancer-related)

Zuo J, Yu H, Xie P, et al.
miR-454-3p exerts tumor-suppressive functions by down-regulation of NFATc2 in glioblastoma.
Gene. 2019; 710:233-239 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most prevalent and malignant primary brain tumor. Numerous studies have demonstrated that aberrant microRNAs (miRNAs) expression is involved in various pathogenesis events in GBM. miR-454-3p has been found to be downregulated in GBM, however, the role and underlying mechanism has not been fully investigated. The expression levels of miR-454-3p in GBM clinical tissues and cultured cell lines were measured by qRT-PCR. To evaluate the role of miR-454-3p in GBM, GBM cells were transfected with miR-454-3p inhibitor (anti-miR-454-3p)/control inhibitor (anti-miR-NC) or miR-454-3p mimic/control mimic (miR-NC). Online prediction algorithm Targetscan was used to predict the target genes of miR-454-3p. The dual luciferase reporter gene assay was performed to confirm whether nuclear factor of activated T cells c2 (NFATc2) was a direct biological target of miR-454-3p. We found that miR-454-3p expression was significantly decreased in both GBM tissues and cultured cell lines. Overexpression of miR-454-3p by transfection with miR-454-3p mimic suppressed cell proliferation and induced apoptosis of GBM cells. Nuclear factor of activated T cells c2 (NFATc2) was predicted as a target gene of miR-454-3p. We found that NFATc2 expression was significantly increased in both GBM tissues and cultured cell lines. Besides, expression levels of miR-454-3p were negatively associated with NFATc2 expression in GBM tissues. NFATc2 knockdown in GBM cells obviously inhibited cell proliferation and elevated apoptosis. Luciferase reporter assay revealed that NFATc2 was a target gene of miR-454-3p. miR-454-3p overexpression suppressed the NFATc2 expression, while inhibition of miR-454-3p induced the NFATc2 expression. Suppression of NFATc2 blocked the effects of miR-454-3p inhibitor on cell proliferation and apoptosis in GBM cells. The results indicated that miR-454-3p executed the tumor suppressive activity via downregulating NFATc2 in GBM.

Koelsche C, Kriegsmann M, Kommoss FKF, et al.
DNA methylation profiling distinguishes Ewing-like sarcoma with EWSR1-NFATc2 fusion from Ewing sarcoma.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2019; 145(5):1273-1281 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: Recent studies revealed divergent gene expression patterns in Ewing sarcoma (EwS) with canonical EWSR1-ETS gene fusions and undifferentiated round cell sarcomas (URCS) with EWSR1 rearrangements fused to the non-ETS gene NFATc2. Thus, the question arises whether the latter tumors really belong to EwS.
METHODS: We collected five cases matching the group of URCS with EWSR1-NFATc2 fusion and performed DNA methylation and copy number profiling. Results were compared to methylation data of 30 EwS with various EWSR1-ETS fusions and one EwS with FUS-ERG fusion, 16 URCS with CIC rearrangement and 10 URCS with BCOR alteration and a total of 81 EWSR1-associated soft tissue sarcomas including 7 angiomatoid fibrous histiocytomas, 7 clear cell sarcomas of the soft tissue, 28 desmoplastic small round cell tumors, 10 extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcomas and 29 myxoid liposarcomas.
RESULTS: Unsupervised hierarchical clustering and t-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding analysis of DNA methylation data revealed a homogeneous methylation cluster for URCS with EWSR1-NFATc2 fusion, which clearly segregated from EwS and the other subtypes. Copy number profiles of EWSR1-NFATc2 cases showed recurrent losses on chromosome 9q and segmental gains on 20q13 and 22q12 involving the EWSR1 and NFATc2 loci, respectively.
CONCLUSION: In summary, URCS with EWSR1-NFATc2 fusion share a distinct DNA methylation signature and carry characteristic copy number alterations, which emphasizes that these sarcomas should be considered separately from EwS.

Zhang J, Zheng ZQ, Yuan YW, et al.
NFAT1 Hypermethylation Promotes Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition and Metastasis in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma by Activating ITGA6 Transcription.
Neoplasia. 2019; 21(3):311-321 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
DNA methylation is an important epigenetic change in carcinogenesis. However, the function and mechanism of DNA methylation dysregulation in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is still largely unclear. Our previous genome-wide microarray data showed that NFAT1 is one of the most hypermethylated transcription factor genes in NPC tissues. Here, we found that NFAT1 hypermethylation contributes to its down-regulation in NPC. NFAT1 overexpression inhibited cell migration, invasion, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition in vitro and tumor metastasis in vivo. We further established that the tumor suppressor effect of NFAT1 is mediated by its inactivation of ITGA6 transcription. Our findings suggest the significance of activating NFAT1/ITGA6 signaling in aggressive NPC, defining a novel critical signaling mechanism that drives NPC invasion and metastasis and providing a novel target for future personalized therapy.

Wang G, Wang YZ, Yu Y, Wang JJ
Inhibitory ASIC2-mediated calcineurin/NFAT against colorectal cancer by triterpenoids extracted from Rhus chinensis Mill.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2019; 235:255-267 [PubMed] Related Publications
ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Studies have shown that the etiology and pathogenesis of colorectal cancer are closely related to the tumor microenvironment, and the cancer tissue is still in the state of "energy deficit" and has to promote energy generation through high glycolysis. Rhus chinensis Mill is a Chinese herbal medicine used to treat various types of solid tumors in China. Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a heterogeneous disease group caused by abnormal changes in glucose metabolism resulted in lactic acid production, which remodels acidosis.
AIM OF THE STUDY: Although previous studies have shown that the active compounds of Rhus chinensis Mill. can inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells, whether its triterpenoids could effectively regulate glycolysis involved in CRC have not been systematically investigated.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this study, the extraction of triterpenoids extract from Rhus chinensis Mill. was obtained, and cell viability assay, the percentage of apoptosis for CRC cells were counted, and matrigel invasion assay and production of lactic acid and glucose uptake assay was determined. we further examined the expression of the key glycolytic enzymes and acid-sending ion channel (ASIC) family members of SW620 cells, and some key proteins in the glycolytic pathway were further verified.
RESULTS: Notably, triterpenoids (TER) of Rhus chinensis Mill. showed effective anti-proliferative activity and significantly altered protein levels associated with CRC cell survival and glycolysis metabolism. TER could down-regulate the expression of ASIC2, in CRC SW620 cell line. Most importantly, the levels of ASIC2 and calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) were also down-regulated by TER. Furthermore, inhibition of activated the ASIC2-mediated calcineurin/NFAT1 pathway and target gene transcript expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in parallel to reduce, and resulted in the reduced invasion ability by TER treatment.
CONCLUSION: The potential pathways and targets that involved in glycolysis to excert the anti-CRC effects of main compounds in triterpenoids of Rhus chinensis Mill. were predicted by network pharmacology methods. Our findings thus provided rational evidence that inhibition of the ASIC2-induced calcineurin/NFAT pathway by triterpenoids in Rhus chinensis Mill. profoundly suppressed cell growth and invasion in CRC, which target alternative glycolysis in colorectal tumor cells, may be a useful adjuvant therapy in the treatment of colorectal cancer.

Thway K, Fisher C
Mesenchymal Tumors with EWSR1 Gene Rearrangements.
Surg Pathol Clin. 2019; 12(1):165-190 [PubMed] Related Publications
Among the various genes that can be rearranged in soft tissue neoplasms associated with nonrandom chromosomal translocations, EWSR1 is the most frequent one to partner with other genes to generate recurrent fusion genes. This leads to a spectrum of clinically and pathologically diverse mesenchymal and nonmesenchymal neoplasms, variably manifesting as small round cell, spindle cell, clear cell or adipocytic tumors, or tumors with distinctive myxoid stroma. This review summarizes the growing list of mesenchymal neoplasms that are associated with EWSR1 gene rearrangements.

Malsy M, Graf B, Almstedt K
The active role of the transcription factor Sp1 in NFATc2-mediated gene regulation in pancreatic cancer.
BMC Biochem. 2019; 20(1):2 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is one of the most aggressive tumor diseases affecting the human body. The oncogenic potential of pancreatic cancer is mainly characterized by extremely rapid growth triggered by the activation of oncogenic signaling cascades, which suggests a change in the regulation of important transcription factors. Amongst others, NFAT transcription factors are assumed to play a central role in the carcinogenesis of pancreatic cancer. Recent research has shown the importance of the transcription factor Sp1 in the transcriptional activity of NFATc2 in pancreatic cancer. However, the role of the interaction between these two binding partners remains unclear. The current study investigated the role of Sp1 proteins in the expression of NFATc2 target genes and identified new target genes and their function in cells. A further objective was the domain of the Sp1 protein that mediates interaction with NFATc2. The involvement of Sp1 proteins in NFATc2 target genes was shown by means of a gene expression profile analysis, and the results were confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. The functional impact of this interaction was shown in a thymidine incorporation assay. A second objective was the physical interaction between NFATc2 and different Sp1 deletion mutants that was investigated by means of immunoprecipitation.
RESULTS: In pancreatic cancer, the proto-oncogene c-Fos, the tumor necrosis factor TNF-alpha, and the adhesion molecule integrin beta-3 are target genes of the interaction between Sp1 and NFATc2. Loss of just one transcription factor inhibits oncogenic complex formation and expression of cell cycle-regulating genes, thus verifiably decreasing the carcinogenic effect. The current study also showed the interaction between the transcription factor NFATc2 and the N-terminal domain of Sp1 in pancreatic cancer cells. Sp1 increases the activity of NFATc2 in the NFAT-responsive promoter.
CONCLUSIONS: The regulation of gene promotors during transcription is a rather complex process because of the involvement of many proteins that - as transcription factors or co-factors - regulate promotor activity as required and control cell function. NFATc2 and Sp1 seem to play a key role in the progression of pancreatic cancer.

Liu H, Yang L, Qi M, Zhang J
NFAT1 enhances the effects of tumor-associated macrophages on promoting malignant melanoma growth and metastasis.
Biosci Rep. 2018; 38(6) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) play substantial roles in tumor growth, invasion, and metastasis. Nuclear factor of activated T cell (NFAT1) has been shown to promote melanoma growth and metastasis

Shakhova I, Li Y, Yu F, et al.
PPP3CB contributes to poor prognosis through activating nuclear factor of activated T-cells signaling in neuroblastoma.
Mol Carcinog. 2019; 58(3):426-435 [PubMed] Related Publications
We previously identified a gain-of-function mutation in PPP3CB in a neuroblastoma (NB) with MYCN amplification. Here we investigated the functional and clinical role of PPP3CB in NB. High PPP3CB expression was an independent indicator predicting poor prognosis of NB. Overexpression of wildtype or mutated PPP3CB (PPP3CBmut) promoted cell growth, but PPP3CB knockdown decreased cell growth in NB cells. Forced expressions of PPP3CB and PPP3CBmut activated NFAT2 and NFAT4 transcription factors and inhibited GSK3β activity, resulting in the increase in the expressions of c-Myc, MYCN, and β-catenin, which were downregulated in response to PPP3CB knockdown. Treatment with calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporin A (CsA) or FK506 suppressed cell proliferation and induced apoptotic cell death in both MYCN-amplified and MYCN-non-amplified NB cell lines. Expression of PPP3CB protein was decreased in response to two calcineurin inhibitors. c-Myc, MYCN, and β-catenin were downregulated at the mRNA and protein levels in CsA or FK506-treated NB cells. Our data indicate that elevated expression of PPP3CB and the expression of its constitutively active mutant contribute to the aggressive behavior of NB tumors and therefore suggest that inhibition of calcineurin activity might have therapeutic potential for high-risk NB.

Toki S, Wakai S, Sekimizu M, et al.
PAX7 immunohistochemical evaluation of Ewing sarcoma and other small round cell tumours.
Histopathology. 2018; 73(4):645-652 [PubMed] Related Publications
AIMS: Ewing sarcoma is a small round cell tumour that affects bone and soft tissues. Although the detection of the specific fusion gene is a robust method of its diagnosis, immunohistochemistry may serve as a practical surrogate. Recent tissue microarray studies suggested that PAX7 is a novel marker, because it was expressed consistently in Ewing sarcoma, in addition to rhabdomyosarcoma and synovial sarcoma. Here, we evaluated the utility of PAX7 immunohistochemistry in whole-tissue sections of an expanded array of round cell malignancies with adequate molecular characterisation.
METHODS AND RESULTS: We stained 30 molecularly confirmed Ewing sarcomas, one EWSR1-NFATC2 sarcoma and 141 non-Ewing round cell tumours by a monoclonal antibody against PAX7. Staining was considered positive if at least 5% of tumour cells were stained. PAX7 was expressed in 27 of 30 Ewing sarcomas (90%), mainly in a diffuse and strong manner. Although NKX2-2 showed similar sensitivity, PAX7 showed more extensive and strong reactivity. One EWSR1-NFATC2 sarcoma co-expressed PAX7 and NKX2-2. PAX7 was also expressed in 24 of 141 non-Ewing tumours, including alveolar rhabdomyosarcomas (seven of 10), poorly differentiated synovial sarcomas (seven of 10), BCOR-CCNB3 sarcomas (eight of 10), small-cell osteosarcoma (one of five) and desmoplastic small round cell tumour (one of 10), one-third of which showed diffuse strong reactivity.
CONCLUSIONS: Although we confirmed that PAX7 is a sensitive marker for Ewing sarcoma, anti-PAX7 antibody also stained several Ewing sarcoma mimics, whose spectrum was distinct from NKX2-2-positive non-Ewing entities. Further studies are required to determine how PAX7 could be integrated into practice to classify small round cell tumours efficiently.

Sundaramoorthy S, Devanand P, Ryu MS, et al.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2018; 144(8):1445-1462 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: It has been reported that PI3K/AKT pathway is altered in various cancers and AKT isoforms specifically regulate cell growth and metastasis of cancer cells; AKT1, but not AKT2, reduces invasion of cancer cells but maintains cancer growth. We propose here a novel mechanism of the tumor suppresser, TIS21
METHODS: Transduction of adenovirus carrying TIS21
RESULTS: We observed that TIS21

Martínez-Reyes I, Chandel NS
Acetyl-CoA-directed gene transcription in cancer cells.
Genes Dev. 2018; 32(7-8):463-465 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Fluctuations in acetyl-coenzyme A (acetyl-CoA) levels have been previously associated with changes in global histone acetylation and gene expression. The study by Lee and colleagues (pp. 497-511) in this issue of

Machado I, Yoshida A, Morales MGN, et al.
Review with novel markers facilitates precise categorization of 41 cases of diagnostically challenging, "undifferentiated small round cell tumors". A clinicopathologic, immunophenotypic and molecular analysis.
Ann Diagn Pathol. 2018; 34:1-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Despite extensive immunohistochemical (IHC) and molecular studies combined with morphologic findings, a group of round/ovoid cell tumors histologically similar to Ewing sarcomas (ES) but lacking EWSR1-rearrangements may remain unclassifiable.
DESIGN: We retrospectively analyzed 41 Ewing-like tumors (formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded) previously determined as negative or non-informative for EWSR1-rearrangements by FISH and/or RT-PCR. A new histopathology revision and additional IHC and molecular analyses were carried out in order to investigate whether additional IHC and/or molecular testing in combination with the morphological findings may help in reaching a definitive diagnosis.
RESULTS: Almost all the tumors (n=40) involved soft tissue and/or bone and half the patients died of disease. In the archival cases all diagnoses were Ewing sarcoma (ES), Ewing-like sarcoma (ELS), myoepithelial tumor and undifferentiated sarcoma (US). In the new review all the tumors were re-classified as, ES (n=16), Ewing-like tumor with EWSR1 rearrangement and amplification and possible EWSR1-NFATC2 gene fusion (n=1), CIC-rearranged sarcomas or undifferentiated sarcoma, most consistent with CIC-rearranged sarcoma (n=7), sarcoma with BCOR-alteration or undifferentiated sarcoma, consistent with BCOR-associated sarcoma (n=3), neuroblastoma (n=2), unclassifiable neoplasm with neuroblastic differentiation (n=1), malignant rhabdoid tumor (n=2), lymphoblastic lymphoma (n=1), clear cell sarcoma of the gastrointestinal tract (n=1), small cell carcinoma (n=1), sclerosing rhabdomyosarcoma (n=1), desmoplastic small round cell tumor (n=1), malignant peripheral sheath nerve tumor (n=1), poorly-differentiated synovial sarcoma (n=1), Possible gastrointestinal stromal tumor/GIST with predominant round cells (n=1) and possible SMARCA4-deficient-sarcoma (n=1). NKX2.2, ETV4 and BCOR immunoreactivity was observed in all ES, CIC-rearranged sarcomas and sarcomas with BCOR alteration, respectively. CIC-rearrangement by FISH was observed in many of the CIC-rearranged sarcomas.
CONCLUSION: Our analysis of 41 Ewing-like tumors confirms that there may be a significant pathological and IHC overlap among Ewing-like tumors, with prognostic and therapeutic impacts. Additional IHC (NKX2.2, ETV4 and BCOR) and molecular studies including FUS, CIC or BCOR analysis may support the final diagnosis when FISH or RT-PCR fail to detect EWSR1-rearrangements. Any molecular findings should always be interpreted in relation to the specific clinical and pathological context.

Dechassa ML, Tryndyak V, de Conti A, et al.
Identification of chromatin-accessible domains in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis-derived hepatocellular carcinoma.
Mol Carcinog. 2018; 57(8):978-987 [PubMed] Related Publications
Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is becoming one of the major causes of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the United States and Western countries; however, the molecular mechanisms associated with NASH-related liver carcinogenesis are not well understood. In the present study, we investigated cancer-associated chromatin alterations using a model that resembles the development of NASH-related HCC in humans. An assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with high throughput sequencing (ATAC-seq) identified 1677 tumor-specific chromatin-accessible regions in NASH-derived HCC tissue samples. Using a combined analysis of ATAC-seq and global gene expression data, we identified 199 differentially expressed genes, 139 up-regulated and 60 down-regulated. Interestingly, 15 of the 139 up-regulated genes had accessible chromatin sites within 5 Kb of the transcription start site (TSS), including Apoa4, Anxa2, Serpine1, Igfbp1, and Tubb2a, genes critically involved in the development of NASH and HCC. We demonstrate that the mechanism for the up-regulation of these genes is associated with the enrichment of chromatin-accessible regions by transcription factors, especially NFATC2, and histone H3K4me1 and H3K27ac gene transcription-activating marks. These data underline the important role of chromatin accessibility perturbations in reshaping of the chromatin landscape in NASH-related HCC.

Jiang Y, Han S, Cheng W, et al.
NFAT1-regulated IL6 signalling contributes to aggressive phenotypes of glioma.
Cell Commun Signal. 2017; 15(1):54 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: We previously demonstrated that the local immune status correlated with the glioma prognosis. Interleukin-6 (IL6) was identified as an important local immune-related risk marker related to unfavourable prognosis. In this study, we further investigated the role and regulation of IL6 signalling in glioma.
METHODS: The expression and prognostic value of IL6 and the IL6 receptor (IL6R) were explored in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) and REMBRANDT databases and clinical samples. Functional effects of genetic knockdown and overexpression of IL6R or IL6 stimulation were examined in vitro and in tumours in vivo. The effects of the nuclear factor of activated T cells-1 (NFAT1) on the promoter activities of IL6R and IL6 were also examined.
RESULTS: High IL6- and IL6R-expression were significantly associated with mesenchymal subtype and IDH-wildtype gliomas, and were predictors of poor survival. Knockdown of IL6R decreased cell proliferation, invasion and neurosphere formation in vitro, and inhibited tumorigenesis in vivo. IL6R overexpression or IL6 stimulation enhanced the invasion and growth of glioma cells. TCGA database searching revealed that IL6- and IL6R-expression were correlated with that of NFAT1. In glioma cells, NFAT1 enhanced the promoter activities of IL6R and IL6, and upregulated the expression of both IL6R and IL6.
CONCLUSION: NFAT1-regulated IL6 signalling contributes to aggressive phenotypes of gliomas, emphasizing the role of immunomodulatory factors in glioma malignant progression.

Cho JH, Han JS
Phospholipase D and Its Essential Role in Cancer.
Mol Cells. 2017; 40(11):805-813 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The role of phospholipase D (PLD) in cancer development and management has been a major area of interest for researchers. The purpose of this mini-review is to explore PLD and its distinct role during chemotherapy including anti-apoptotic function. PLD is an enzyme that belongs to the phospholipase super family and is found in a broad range of organisms such as viruses, yeast, bacteria, animals, and plants. The function and activity of PLD are widely dependent on and regulated by neurotransmitters, hormones, small monomeric GTPases, and lipids. A growing body of research has shown that PLD activity is significantly increased in cancer tissues and cells, indicating that it plays a critical role in signal transduction, cell proliferation, and anti-apoptotic processes. In addition, recent studies show that PLD is a downstream transcriptional target of proteins that contribute to inflammation and carcinogenesis such as Sp1, NFκB, TCF4, ATF-2, NFATc2, and EWS-Fli. Thus, compounds that inhibit expression or activity of PLD in cells can be potentially useful in reducing inflammation and sensitizing resistant cancers during chemotherapy.

Zhou ZH, Song JW, Li W, et al.
The acid-sensing ion channel, ASIC2, promotes invasion and metastasis of colorectal cancer under acidosis by activating the calcineurin/NFAT1 axis.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2017; 36(1):130 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The tumor acidic microenvironment, a common biochemical event in solid tumors, offers evolutional advantage for tumors cells and even enhances their aggressive phenotype. However, little is known about the molecular mechanism underlying the acidic microenvironment-induced invasion and metastasis.
METHODS: We examined the expression of the acid-sending ion channel (ASIC) family members after acidic exposure using RT-PCR and immunofluoresence. Gene manipulation was applied to reveal the potential of ASIC2 on invasion, proliferation, colony formation of colorectal cancer (CRC). We assessed the in vivo tumor growth by subcutaneous transplantation and metastasis by spleen xenografts. Chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing was used to uncover the binding sites of NFAT1. Finally, we examined the expression of ASIC2 in CRC tissues using immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: Acidic exposure led to up-regulation of the acid-sensing ion channel, ASIC2, in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. ASIC2 overexpression in CRC cell lines, SW480 and HCT116, significantly enhanced cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo, while ASIC2 knockdown had the reverse effect. Importantly, ASIC2 promoted CRC cell invasion under acidosis in vitro and liver metastasis in vivo. Mechanistically, ASIC2 activated the calcineurin/NFAT1 signaling pathway under acidosis. Inhibition of the calcineurin/NFAT pathway by cyclosporine A (CsA) profoundly attenuated ASIC2-induced invasion under acidosis. ChIP-seq assay revealed that the nuclear factor, NFAT1, binds to genes clustered in pathways involved in Rho GTPase signaling and calcium signaling. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry showed that ASIC2 expression is increased in CRC samples compared to that in adjacent tissues, and ASIC2 expression correlates with T-stage, distant metastasis, recurrence, and poor prognosis.
CONCLUSION: ASIC2 promotes metastasis of CRC cells by activating the calcineurin/NFAT1 pathway under acidosis and high expression of ASIC2 predicts poor outcomes of patients with CRC.

Malsy M, Graf B, Almstedt K
Interaction between NFATc2 and the transcription factor Sp1 in pancreatic carcinoma cells PaTu 8988t.
BMC Mol Biol. 2017; 18(1):20 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Nuclear factors of activated T-cells (NFATs) have been mainly characterized in the context of immune response regulation because, as transcription factors, they have the ability to induce gene transcription. NFAT proteins are found in several types of tumors, for instance, pancreatic carcinoma. The role of NFATs in carcinogenesis is regulating central genes in cell differentiation and cell growth. NFAT proteins are primarily located in cytoplasm and only transported to the cell nucleus after activation. Here, they interact with other transcription factors cooperating with NFAT proteins, thus influencing the selection and regulation of NFAT-controlled genes. To identify and characterize possible interaction partners of the transcription factor NFATc2 in pancreatic carcinoma cells PaTu 8988t.
METHODS: NFATc2 expression and the mode of action of Ionomycin in the pancreatic tumor cell lines PaTu 8988t were shown with Western blotting and immunofluorescence tests. Potential partner proteins were verified by means of immunoprecipitation and binding partners, their physical interactions with DNA pull-down assays, siRNA technologies, and GST pull-down assays. Functional evidence was complemented by reporter-promoter analyses.
RESULTS: NFATc2 and Sp1 are co-localized in cell nuclei and physically interact at the NFAT target sequence termed NFAT-responsive promotor construct. Sp1 increases the functional activity of its binding partner NFATc2. This interaction is facilitated by Ionomycin in the early stimulation phase (up to 60 min).
CONCLUSIONS: Oncological therapy concepts are becoming more and more specific, aiming at the efficient modulation of specific signal and transcription pathways. The oncogenic transcription partner Sp1 is important for the transcriptional and functional activity of NFATc2 in pancreatic carcinoma. The binding partners interact in cells. Further studies are necessary to identify the underlying mechanisms and establish future therapeutic options for treating this aggressive type of tumor.

Xiao ZJ, Liu J, Wang SQ, et al.
NFATc2 enhances tumor-initiating phenotypes through the NFATc2/SOX2/ALDH axis in lung adenocarcinoma.
Elife. 2017; 6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor-initiating cells (TIC) are dynamic cancer cell subsets that display enhanced tumor functions and resilience to treatment but the mechanism of TIC induction or maintenance in lung cancer is not fully understood. In this study, we show the calcium pathway transcription factor NFATc2 is a novel regulator of lung TIC phenotypes, including tumorspheres, cell motility, tumorigenesis, as well as in vitro and in vivo responses to chemotherapy and targeted therapy. In human lung cancers, high NFATc2 expression predicted poor tumor differentiation, adverse recurrence-free and cancer-specific overall survivals. Mechanistic investigations identified NFATc2 response elements in the 3' enhancer region of

Charville GW, Wang WL, Ingram DR, et al.
EWSR1 fusion proteins mediate PAX7 expression in Ewing sarcoma.
Mod Pathol. 2017; 30(9):1312-1320 [PubMed] Related Publications
PAX7 is a paired-box transcription factor that is required for the developmental specification of adult skeletal muscle progenitors in mice. We previously demonstrated PAX7 expression as a marker of skeletal muscle differentiation in rhabdomyosarcoma. Here, using analyses of published whole-genome gene expression microarray data, we identify PAX7 as a gene with significantly increased expression in Ewing sarcoma in comparison to CIC-DUX4 round cell sarcoma. Analysis of PAX7 in a large cohort of 103 Ewing sarcoma cases by immunohistochemistry revealed expression in 99.0% of cases (102/103). PAX7 expression was noted in cases demonstrating three distinct Ewing sarcoma EWSR1 translocations involving FLI1, ERG, and NFATc2. No PAX7 expression was observed in any of 27 cases of CIC-DUX4 sarcoma by immunohistochemistry (0%; 0/27). Exploring the mechanism of PAX7 expression in Ewing sarcoma using curated RNA- and ChIP-sequencing data, we demonstrate that the EWSR1 fusion protein is required for PAX7 expression in Ewing sarcoma and identify a candidate EWSR1-FLI1-bound PAX7 enhancer that coincides with both a consensus GGAA repeat-containing binding site and a peak of regulatory H3K27 acetylation. Taken together, our findings provide mechanistic support for the utility of PAX7 immunohistochemistry in the diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma, while linking this sarcoma of uncertain histogenesis to a key transcriptional regulator of mammalian muscle progenitor cells.

Qin J, Wang W, Zhang R
Novel natural product therapeutics targeting both inflammation and cancer.
Chin J Nat Med. 2017; 15(6):401-416 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Inflammation is recently recognized as one of the hallmarks of human cancer. Chronic inflammatory response plays a critical role in cancer development, progression, metastasis, and resistance to chemotherapy. Conversely, the oncogenic aberrations also generate an inflammatory microenvironment, enabling the development and progression of cancer. The molecular mechanisms of action that are responsible for inflammatory cancer and cancer-associated inflammation are not fully understood due to the complex crosstalk between oncogenic and pro-inflammatory genes. However, molecular mediators that regulate both inflammation and cancer, such as NF-κB and STAT have been considered as promising targets for preventing and treating these diseases. Recent works have further demonstrated an important role of oncogenes (e.g., NFAT1, MDM2) and tumor suppressor genes (e.g., p53) in cancer-related inflammation. Natural products that target these molecular mediators have shown anticancer and anti-inflammatory activities in preclinical and clinical studies. Sesquiterpenoids (STs), a class of novel plant-derived secondary metabolites have attracted great interest in recent years because of their diversity in chemical structures and pharmacological activities. At present, we and other investigators have found that dimeric sesquiterpenoids (DSTs) may exert enhanced activity and binding affinity to molecular targets due to the increased number of alkylating centers and improved conformational flexibility and lipophilicity. Here, we focus our discussion on the activities and mechanisms of action of STs and DSTs in treating inflammation and cancer as well as their structure-activity relationships.

Jin H, Wang C, Jin G, et al.
Regulator of Calcineurin 1 Gene Isoform 4, Down-regulated in Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Prevents Proliferation, Migration, and Invasive Activity of Cancer Cells and Metastasis of Orthotopic Tumors by Inhibiting Nuclear Translocation of NFAT1.
Gastroenterology. 2017; 153(3):799-811.e33 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Individuals with Down syndrome have a low risk for many solid tumors, prompting the search for tumor suppressor genes on human chromosome 21 (HSA21). We aimed to identify and explore potential mechanisms of tumor suppressors on HSA21 in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
METHODS: We compared expression of HSA21 genes in 14 pairs of primary HCC and adjacent noncancer liver tissues using the Affymetrix HG-U133 Plus 2.0 array (Affymetrix, Santa Clara, CA). HCC tissues and adjacent normal liver tissues were collected from 108 patients at a hospital in China for real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemical analyses; expression levels of regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1) isoform 4 (RCAN1.4) were associated with clinical features. We overexpressed RCAN1.4 from lentiviral vectors in MHCC97H and HCCLM3 cells and knocked expression down using small interfering RNAs in SMMC7721 and Huh7 cells. Cells were analyzed in proliferation, migration, and invasion assays. HCC cells that overexpressed RCAN1.4 or with RCAN1.4 knockdown were injected into livers or tail veins of nude mice; tumor growth and numbers of lung metastases were quantified. We performed bisulfite pyrosequencing and methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction analyses to analyze CpG island methylation. We measured phosphatase activity of calcineurin in HCC cells.
RESULTS: RCAN1.4 mRNA and protein levels were significantly decreased in primary HCC compared with adjacent noncancer liver tissues. Reduced levels of RCAN1.4 mRNA were significantly associated with advanced tumor stages, poor differentiation, larger tumor size, and vascular invasion. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis showed that patients with HCCs with lower levels of RCAN1.4 mRNA had shorter time of overall survival and time to recurrence than patients whose tumors had high levels of RCAN1.4 mRNA. In HCC cell lines, expression of RCAN1.4 significantly reduced proliferation, migration, and invasive activity. HCC cells that overexpressed RCAN1.4 formed smaller xenograft tumors, with fewer metastases and blood vessels, than control HCC cells. In HCC cells, RCAN1.4 inhibited expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 and vascular endothelial growth factor A by reducing calcineurin activity and blocking nuclear translocation of nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT1). HCC cells incubated with the calcineurin inhibitor cyclosporin A had decreased nuclear level of NFAT1. HCC cells had hypermethylation of a CpG island in the 5' regulatory region of RCAN1.4, which reduced its expression.
CONCLUSIONS: RCAN1.4 is down-regulated in HCC tissues, compared with non-tumor liver tissues. RCAN1.4 prevents cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in vitro; overexpressed RCAN1.4 in HCC cells prevents growth, angiogenesis, and metastases of xenograft tumors by inhibiting calcineurin activity and nuclear translocation of NFAT1.

Zafari V, Hashemzadeh S, Hosseinpour Feizi M, et al.
mRNA expression of nuclear factor of activated T-cells, cytoplasmic 2 (NFATc2) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG) transcription factors in colorectal carcinoma.
Bosn J Basic Med Sci. 2017; 17(3):255-261 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Transcription factors are involved in cell cycle and apoptosis regulation and thus have a key role in the carcinogenesis of different tumors. Nuclear factor of activated T-cells, cytoplasmic 2 (NFATc2) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG) transcription factors are important in the carcinogenesis of colorectal cancer (CRC). In this study, we examined whether the expression of NFATc2 and PPARG genes is significantly altered during the carcinogenesis of CRC. A total of 47 tumor samples and matched normal tissue margins were collected during surgery from patients with CRC. In addition, three CRC cell lines (HCT119, SW480, and HT29) and healthy cell line were used. After total RNA extraction and cDNA synthesis, mRNA expression levels of NFATc2 and PPARG were examined by real-time polymerase chain reaction. The results showed that NFATc2 is overexpressed in the tumor tissues compared with normal tissue margins (p ≤ 0.05). However, the mRNA expression levels of PPARG were not significantly different between the tumor tissues and tissue margins. Our results indicate that NFATc2 may be used as an early diagnostic or predictive biomarker for CRC as well as a therapeutic target, providing that upcoming studies confirm these results.

Han S, Meng L, Jiang Y, et al.
Lithium enhances the antitumour effect of temozolomide against TP53 wild-type glioblastoma cells via NFAT1/FasL signalling.
Br J Cancer. 2017; 116(10):1302-1311 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: We previously showed that activation of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT)1/Fas ligand (FasL) pathway induces glioma cell death. Lithium (Li) is an inhibitor of glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3 that activates NFAT1/FasL signalling. Temozolomide (TMZ) inhibits GSK-3 and activates Fas in tumour protein (TP)53 wild-type (TP53wt) glioma cells. The present study investigated the combinational effects of TMZ and low-dose Li on TP53wt glioma cells.
METHODS: The combined effect of TMZ and Li was examined in TP53wt U87 and primary glioma cells and a mouse xenograft model.
RESULTS: Combination with 1.2 mM Li potentiated TMZ-induced cell death in TP53wt glioma cells, as determined by neurosphere formation and apoptosis assays. Temozolomide combined with Li treatment inhibited GSK-3 activation, promoted NFAT1 nuclear translocation and upregulated Fas/FasL expression. Targeted knockdown of NFAT1 expression blocked the induction of cell death by TMZ and Li via FasL inhibition. In vivo, combined treatment with TMZ and Li suppressed tumour growth and prolonged the survival of tumour-bearing mice. However, the combination of TMZ and Li did not produce a statistically significant effect in TP53mut glioma cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Temozolomide combined with low-dose Li induces TP53wt glioma cell death via NFAT1/FasL signalling. This represents a potential therapeutic strategy for TP53wt glioma treatment.

Chen Z, Soutto M, Rahman B, et al.
Integrated expression analysis identifies transcription networks in mouse and human gastric neoplasia.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2017; 56(7):535-547 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Gastric cancer (GC) is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The Tff1 knockout (KO) mouse model develops gastric lesions that include low-grade dysplasia (LGD), high-grade dysplasia (HGD), and adenocarcinomas. In this study, we used Affymetrix microarrays gene expression platforms for analysis of molecular signatures in the mouse stomach [Tff1-KO (LGD) and Tff1 wild-type (normal)] and human gastric cancer tissues and their adjacent normal tissue samples. Combined integrated bioinformatics analysis of mouse and human datasets indicated that 172 genes were consistently deregulated in both human gastric cancer samples and Tff1-KO LGD lesions (P < .05). Using Ingenuity pathway analysis, these genes mapped to important transcription networks that include MYC, STAT3, β-catenin, RELA, NFATC2, HIF1A, and ETS1 in both human and mouse. Further analysis demonstrated activation of FOXM1 and inhibition of TP53 transcription networks in human gastric cancers but not in Tff1-KO LGD lesions. Using real-time RT-PCR, we validated the deregulated expression of several genes (VCAM1, BGN, CLDN2, COL1A1, COL1A2, COL3A1, EpCAM, IFITM1, MMP9, MMP12, MMP14, PDGFRB, PLAU, and TIMP1) that map to altered transcription networks in both mouse and human gastric neoplasia. Our study demonstrates significant similarities in deregulated transcription networks in human gastric cancer and gastric tumorigenesis in the Tff1-KO mouse model. The data also suggest that activation of MYC, STAT3, RELA, and β-catenin transcription networks could be an early molecular step in gastric carcinogenesis.

Zhang F, Chen X, Wei K, et al.
Identification of Key Transcription Factors Associated with Lung Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
Med Sci Monit. 2017; 23:172-206 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND Lung squamous cell carcinoma (lung SCC) is a common type of lung cancer, but its mechanism of pathogenesis is unclear. The aim of this study was to identify key transcription factors in lung SCC and elucidate its mechanism. MATERIAL AND METHODS Six published microarray datasets of lung SCC were downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) for integrated bioinformatics analysis. Significance analysis of microarrays was used to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between lung SCC and normal controls. The biological functions and signaling pathways of DEGs were mapped in the Gene Otology and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway database, respectively. A transcription factor gene regulatory network was used to obtain insights into the functions of DEGs. RESULTS A total of 1,011 genes, including 539 upregulated genes and 462 downregulated genes, were filtered as DEGs between lung SCC and normal controls. DEGs were significantly enriched in cell cycle, DNA replication, p53 signaling pathway, pathways in cancer, adherens junction, and cell adhesion molecules signaling pathways. There were 57 transcription factors identified, which were used to construct a regulatory network. The network consisted of 736 interactions between 49 transcription factors and 486 DEGs. NFIC, BRCA1, and NFATC2 were the top 3 transcription factors that had the highest connectivity with DEGs and that regulated 83, 82, and 75 DEGs in the network, respectively. CONCLUSIONS NFIC, BRCA1, and NFATC2 might be the key transcription factors in the development of lung SCC by regulating the genes involved in cell cycle and DNA replication pathways.

Chen P, Shan Z, Zhao J, et al.
NFAT1 promotes cell motility through MMP-3 in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2017; 86:541-546 [PubMed] Related Publications
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most common malignant tumors and the prognosis of patients remains poor. Increasing evidence suggests that nuclear factor of activated T cell (NFAT1) plays an important role in the development and progression of cancers. Herein, we show that NFAT1 was overexpressed in human ESCC, which was significantly associated with advanced tumor stage and lymph node metastasis. Functional studies found that NFAT1 silencing could suppress cell migration and invasion through MMP-3. The data therefore suggest that NFAT1 plays an important adverse role in the development and progression of ESCC, implicating possible application in clinics as a biomarker and a potential new therapeutic target.

Yang L, Feng S, Yang Y
Identification of transcription factors (TFs) and targets involved in the cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) by integrated analysis.
Cancer Gene Ther. 2016; 23(12):439-445 [PubMed] Related Publications
The present study was designed to investigate the upstream transcription factors (TFs) and the signature genes in cholangiocarcinoma (CCA), providing better clues on the regulatory mechanisms and therapeutic applications. Gene expression data sets of CCA were searched in the Gene Expression Omnibus database for integrated analysis. Functional annotation of differently expressed genes (DEGs) was then conducted and the TFs were identified. Moreover, a global transcriptional regulatory network of TFs-targets was constructed. Integrated analysis of five eligible Gene Expression Omnibus data sets led to a set of 993 DEGs and 48 TFs in CCA. The constructed TFs-targets regulatory network consisted of 697 TF-target interactions between 41 TFs and 436 DEGs. The top 10 TFs covering the most downstream DEGs were NFATC2, SOX10, ARID3A, ZNF263, NR4A2, GATA3, EGR1, PLAG1, STAT3 and FOSL1, which may have important roles in the tumorigenesis of CCA. Supporting the fact that defects of cell-cycle surveillance mechanism were closely related to various cancers, we found that cell cycle was the most significantly enriched pathway. KCNN2 and ADCY6 were involved in the bile secretion. Thus, their aberrant expression may be closely related to the pathogenesis of CCA. Particularly, we found that upregulation of EZH2 in CCA is a powerful potential marker for CCA.

Zang H, Li N, Pan Y, Hao J
Identification of upstream transcription factors (TFs) for expression signature genes in breast cancer.
Gynecol Endocrinol. 2017; 33(3):193-198 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer is a common malignancy among women with a rising incidence. Our intention was to detect transcription factors (TFs) for deeper understanding of the underlying mechanisms of breast cancer. Integrated analysis of gene expression datasets of breast cancer was performed. Then, functional annotation of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) was conducted, including Gene Ontology (GO) enrichment and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway enrichment. Furthermore, TFs were identified and a global transcriptional regulatory network was constructed. Seven publically available GEO datasets were obtained, and a set of 1196 DEGs were identified (460 up-regulated and 736 down-regulated). Functional annotation results showed that cell cycle was the most significantly enriched pathway, which was consistent with the fact that cell cycle is closely related to various tumors. Fifty-three differentially expressed TFs were identified, and the regulatory networks consisted of 817 TF-target interactions between 46 TFs and 602 DEGs in the context of breast cancer. Top 10 TFs covering the most downstream DEGs were SOX10, NFATC2, ZNF354C, ARID3A, BRCA1, FOXO3, GATA3, ZEB1, HOXA5 and EGR1. The transcriptional regulatory networks could enable a better understanding of regulatory mechanisms of breast cancer pathology and provide an opportunity for the development of potential therapy.

Chen J, Qian Z, Li F, et al.
Integrative Analysis of Microarray Data to Reveal Regulation Patterns in the Pathogenesis of Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
Gut Liver. 2017; 11(1):112-120 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Background/Aims: The integration of multiple profiling data and the construction of a transcriptional regulatory network may provide additional insights into the molecular mechanisms of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The present study was conducted to investigate the deregulation of genes and the transcriptional regulatory network in HCC.
Methods: An integrated analysis of HCC gene expression datasets was performed in Gene Expression Omnibus. Functional annotation of the differentially expression genes (DEGs) was conducted. Furthermore, transcription factors (TFs) were identified, and a global transcriptional regulatory network was constructed.
Results: An integrated analysis of eight eligible gene expression profiles of HCC led to 1,835 DEGs. Consistent with the fact that the cell cycle is closely related to various tumors, the functional annotation revealed that genes involved in the cell cycle were significantly enriched. A transcriptional regulatory network was constructed using the 62 TFs, which consisted of 872 TF-target interactions between 56 TFs and 672 DEGs in the context of HCC. The top 10 TFs covering the most downstream DEGs were ZNF354C, NFATC2, ARID3A, BRCA1, ZNF263, FOXD1, GATA3, FOXO3, FOXL1, and NR4A2. This network will appeal to future investigators focusing on the development of HCC.
Conclusions: The transcriptional regulatory network can provide additional information that is valuable in understanding the underlying molecular mechanism in hepatic tumorigenesis.

Teixeira LK, Carrossini N, Sécca C, et al.
NFAT1 transcription factor regulates cell cycle progression and cyclin E expression in B lymphocytes.
Cell Cycle. 2016; 15(17):2346-59 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The NFAT family of transcription factors has been primarily related to T cell development, activation, and differentiation. Further studies have shown that these ubiquitous proteins are observed in many cell types inside and outside the immune system, and are involved in several biological processes, including tumor growth, angiogenesis, and invasiveness. However, the specific role of the NFAT1 family member in naive B cell proliferation remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that NFAT1 transcription factor controls Cyclin E expression, cell proliferation, and tumor growth in vivo. Specifically, we show that inducible expression of NFAT1 inhibits cell cycle progression, reduces colony formation, and controls tumor growth in nude mice. We also demonstrate that NFAT1-deficient naive B lymphocytes show a hyperproliferative phenotype and high levels of Cyclin E1 and E2 upon BCR stimulation when compared to wild-type B lymphocytes. NFAT1 transcription factor directly regulates Cyclin E expression in B cells, inhibiting the G1/S cell cycle phase transition. Bioinformatics analysis indicates that low levels of NFAT1 correlate with high expression of Cyclin E1 in different human cancers, including Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphomas (DLBCL). Together, our results demonstrate a repressor role for NFAT1 in cell cycle progression and Cyclin E expression in B lymphocytes, and suggest a potential function for NFAT1 protein in B cell malignancies.

Disclaimer: This site is for educational purposes only; it can not be used in diagnosis or treatment.

Cite this page: Cotterill SJ. NFATC2, Cancer Genetics Web: Accessed:

Creative Commons License
This page in Cancer Genetics Web by Simon Cotterill is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Note: content of abstracts copyright of respective publishers - seek permission where appropriate.

 [Home]    Page last revised: 29 August, 2019     Cancer Genetics Web, Established 1999