Members of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) are involved in the induction of a number of cytokine genes. We report here cDNA cloning and chromosomal localization of a murine homologue of human NFATx, designated as mNFATx1, and its splicing variants mNFATx2 and mΔNFATx. Northern blot analysis showed mNFATx1 to be predominantly expressed in the thymus. mNFATx1, but not mΔNFATx, produced in COS-7 cells, bound to all NFAT-binding sites of the interleukin (IL)-2 and IL-4 promoters tested. Immunofluorescence assay showed that both mNFATx1 and mΔNFATx introduced into COS-7 cells localized predominantly to the cytoplasm, but did translocate to the nucleus, either by cotransfection with an active form of calcineurin or wild-type calcineurin followed by stimulation with calcium ionophore. Translocation of mNFATx1 correlated well with activation of the murine IL-2 promoter; mNFATx1 translocated under conditions described above, in combination with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, activated the transiently transfected murine IL-2 promoter. Thus, nuclear-translocated mNFATx1 is involved in activation of the IL-2 promoter. These results provide the first evidence for the requirement of calcineurin in the control of mNFATx imported from the cytoplasm to the nucleus and implies that mNFATx may possibly be a substrate of calcineurin in vivo.