Deletion of calcineurin and myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) binding domain of Cabin1 results in enhanced cytokine gene expression in T cells

Christine Esau, Marianne Boes, Hong Duk Youn, Lisa Tatterson, Jun O. Liu, Jianzhu Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cabin1 binds calcineurin and myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) through its COOH-terminal region. In cell lines, these interactions were shown to inhibit calcineurin activity after T cell receptor (TCR) signaling and transcriptional activation of Nur77 by MEF2. The role of these interactions under physiological conditions was investigated using a mutant mouse strain that expresses a truncated Cabin1 lacking the COOH-terminal calcineurin and MEF2 binding domains. T and B cell development and thymocyte apoptosis were normal in mutant mice. In response to anti-CD3 stimulation, however, mutant T cells expressed significantly higher levels of interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, IL-9, IL-13, and interferon γ than wild-type T cells. The enhanced cytokine gene expression was not associated with change in nuclear factor of activated T cells (NF-AT)c or NF-ATp nuclear translocation but was preceded by the induction of a phosphorylated form of MEF2D in mutant T cells. Consistent with the enhanced cytokine expression, mutant mice had elevated levels of serum immunoglobulin (Ig)G1, IgG2b, and IgE and produced more IgG1 in response to a T cell-dependent antigen. These findings suggest that the calcineurin and MEF2 binding domain of Cabin1 is dispensable for thymocyte development and apoptosis, but is required for proper regulation of T cell cytokine expression probably through modulation of MEF2 acivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1449-1459
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 19 2001



  • Apoptosis
  • Calcium
  • NF-AT
  • TCR
  • Th1/Th2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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