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NF45/NF90‐mediated rDNA transcription provides a novel target for immunosuppressant development

Hsiang‐I Tsai, , Longshan Liu, Shengchang Xin, Yingyi Wu, Zhanxue Xu, Huanxi Zhang, Gan Liu, Zirong Bi, Dandan Su, Min Yang, Yijing Tao, Changxi Wang, Jing Zhao, John E Eriksson, , ,
Published: 8 February 2021
 by  EMBO
EMBO Molecular Medicine , Volume 13; doi:10.15252/emmm.202012834

Abstract: Herein, we demonstrate that NFAT, a key regulator of the immune response, translocates from cytoplasm to nucleolus and interacts with NF45/NF90 complex to collaboratively promote rDNA transcription via triggering the directly binding of NF45/NF90 to the ARRE2‐like sequences in rDNA promoter upon T‐cell activation in vitro. The elevated pre‐rRNA level of T cells is also observed in both mouse heart or skin transplantation models and in kidney transplanted patients. Importantly, T‐cell activation can be significantly suppressed by inhibiting NF45/NF90‐dependent rDNA transcription. Amazingly, CX5461, a rDNA transcription‐specific inhibitor, outperformed FK506, the most commonly used immunosuppressant, both in terms of potency and off‐target activity (i.e., toxicity), as demonstrated by a series of skin and heart allograft models. Collectively, this reveals NF45/NF90‐mediated rDNA transcription as a novel signaling pathway essential for T‐cell activation and as a new target for the development of safe and effective immunosuppressants.
Keywords: nucleolus / Immunology / organ transplantation / NFAT / CX5461 / NF45/NF90

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