PerspectiveCardiac Physiology

Does Contractile Ca2+ Control Calcineurin-NFAT Signaling and Pathological Hypertrophy in Cardiac Myocytes?

Science Signaling  24 Jun 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 25, pp. pe31
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.125pe31

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In noncontractile cells, a sustained increase in total cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration is typically needed to activate the intracellular protein phosphatase calcineurin, leading to dephosphorylation of the transcription factor nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT), its nuclear translocation, and induction of gene expression. It remains a mystery exactly how Ca2+-dependent signaling pathways, such as that mediated by calcineurin-NFAT, are regulated in contracting cardiac myocytes given the highly specialized manner in which Ca2+ concentration rhythmically cycles in excitation-contraction coupling. Here, we critically review evidence that supports the hypothesis that calcineurin-NFAT signaling is regulated by contractile Ca2+ transients in cardiac myocytes.

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