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Nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) proteins repress canonical Wnt signaling via its interaction with Dishevelled (Dvl) protein and participate in regulating neural progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation.

Huang T., Xie Z., Wang J., Li M., Jing N., Li L.

The Ca(2+) signaling pathway appears to regulate the processes of the early development through its antagonism of canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway. However, the underlying mechanism is still poorly understood. Here, we show that nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT), a component of Ca(2+) signaling, interacts directly with Dishevelled (Dvl) in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner. A dominant negative form of NFAT rescued the inhibition of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway triggered by the Ca(2+) signal. NFAT functioned downstream of β-catenin without interfering with its stability, but influencing the interaction of β-catenin with Dvl by its competitively binding to Dvl. Furthermore, we demonstrate that NFAT is a regulator in the proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitor cells by modulating canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway in the neural tube of chick embryo. Our findings suggest that NFAT negatively regulates canonical Wnt/β-catenin signaling by binding to Dvl, thereby participating in vertebrate neurogenesis.

J. Biol. Chem. 286:37399-37405(2011) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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