Cyclophilin A and nuclear factor of activated T cells are essential in cyclosporine-mediated suppression of polyomavirus BK replication

Am J Transplant. 2012 Sep;12(9):2348-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2012.04116.x. Epub 2012 May 29.


Immunosuppressants have impacts on the development of polyomavirus-associated nephropathy. We previously demonstrated that cyclosporin A (CsA) suppressed polyomavirus BK (BKV) replication. The role of cyclophilin A (CypA) and nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) in CsA-imposed suppression of BKV replication was determined in this study. Results demonstrated that knockdown of CypA but not CypB significantly reduced BKV large T antigen (TAg) expression and BKV titer. Overexpression of CypA reversed CypA siRNA-induced inhibition in BKV TAg expression. In addition, CypA overexpression attenuated the suppressive effect of CsA on TAg expression, suggesting CypA implicated in CsA-mediated anti-BKV effect. Knockdown of NFATc3 abrogated TAg expression, while overexpression of NFATc3 promoted TAg expression and augmented BKV promoter activity. NFATc3 binding to the BKV promoter was verified by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay and electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Renal histology also displayed an increase in NFATc3 expression in tubulointerstitium of BKV-associated nephropathy. Furthermore, overexpression of NFATc3 rescued CsA-mediated inhibition of BKV load and TAg expression. A CsA analog, NIM811, which cannot block NFAT functionality, failed to suppress TAg expression. In conclusion, CypA and NFAT are indispensable in BKV replication. CsA inhibits BKV replication through CypA and NFAT, which may be potential targets of anti-BKV treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • BK Virus / isolation & purification
  • BK Virus / physiology*
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • Cyclophilin A / physiology*
  • Cyclosporine / pharmacology*
  • Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay
  • Gene Silencing
  • Humans
  • NFATC Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Viral Load
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*


  • NFATC Transcription Factors
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Cyclosporine
  • Cyclophilin A