Zinc and the cytoskeleton in the neuronal modulation of transcription factor NFAT

Gerardo Mackenzie, Patricia I. Oteiza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Transcription factor NFAT is crucial in the development of the nervous system due to its role in neuronal plasticity and survival. In this study we characterized the role of zinc and the cytoskeleton in the modulation of NFAT in neuronal cells. The incubation of cells in zinc deficient media led to NFAT activation that was inhibited by the calcium chelator BAPTA and the antioxidants (±)-α-lipoic acid and N-acetyl cysteine, suggesting the involvement of calcium and oxidants in the initial steps of NFAT activation associated with zinc deficiency. At a second step of regulation, a decrease in cellular zinc led to an impaired transport of the active NFAT from the cytosol into the nucleus due to alterations in tubulin polymerization secondary to a decrease in neuronal zinc. Furthermore, disruption of the cytoskeleton structure by cold and chemical agents (colchicine (Col), vinblastine (VB), cytochalasin D (Cyt)) also inhibited NFAT transport into the nucleus. The altered nuclear transport caused a decrease in NFAT-dependent gene expression. This study demonstrates for the first time that zinc can modulate transcription factor NFAT in neuronal cells, and that microtubules are involved in NFAT nuclear translocation, crucial event in the regulation of NFAT transcriptional activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-256
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology


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