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Calcineurin is essential in cyclosporin A- and FK506-sensitive yeast strains.

  • T Breuder
  • C S Hemenway
  • N R Movva
  • M E Cardenas
  • J Heitman
Publication Date
Jun 07, 1994


The immunophilin-immunosuppressant complexes cyclophilin-cyclosporin A (CsA) and FKBP12-FK506 inhibit the phosphatase calcineurin to block T-cell activation. Although cyclophilin A, FKBP12, and calcineurin are highly conserved from yeast to man, none had previously been shown to be essential for viability. We find that CsA-sensitive yeast strains are FK506 hypersensitive and demonstrate that calcineurin is required for viability in these strains. Mutants lacking cyclophilin A or FKBP12 are resistant to CsA or FK506, respectively. Thus, both the immunosuppressive and the antifungal actions of CsA and FK506 result from calcineurin inhibition by immunophilin-drug complexes. In yeast strains in which calcineurin is not essential, calcineurin inhibition or mutation of calcineurin confers hypersensitivity to LiCl or NaCl, suggesting that calcineurin regulates cation transport.

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