Nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) proteins are a group of Ca(2+)-regulated transcription factors residing in the cytoplasm of resting cells. Dephosphorylation by calcineurin results in nuclear translocation of NFAT and subsequent expression of target genes; rephosphorylation by kinases, including casein kinase 1 (CK1), restores NFAT to its latent state in the cytoplasm. We engineered a hyperactivable version of NFAT1 with increased affinity for calcineurin and decreased affinity for casein kinase 1. Mice expressing hyperactivable NFAT1 in their T-cell compartment exhibited a dramatically increased frequency of both IL-17- and IL-10-producing cells after differentiation under Th17 conditions-this was associated with direct binding of NFAT1 to distal regulatory regions of Il-17 and Il-10 gene loci in Th17 cells. Despite higher IL-17 production in culture, the mice were significantly less prone to myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis than controls, correlating with increased production of the immunomodulatory cytokine IL-10 and enhanced accumulation of regulatory T cells within the CNS. Thus, NFAT hyperactivation paradoxically leads to decreased susceptibility to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, supporting previous observations linking defects in Ca(2+)/NFAT signaling to lymphoproliferation and autoimmune disease.