STAT2 is a pervasive cytokine regulator due to its inhibition of STAT1 in multiple signaling pathways
Ho, Johnathan and Pelzel, Christin and Begitt, Andreas and Mee, Maureen and Elsheika, Hany M. and Scott, David J. and Vinkemeier, Uwe (2016) STAT2 is a pervasive cytokine regulator due to its inhibition of STAT1 in multiple signaling pathways. PLoS Biology . ISSN 1545-7885 (In Press)
STAT2 is the quintessential transcription factor for type 1 interferons (IFNs), where it functions as a heterodimer with STAT1. However, the human and murine STAT2-deficient phenotypes suggest important additional and currently unidentified type 1 IFN-independent activities. Here we show that STAT2 constitutively bound to STAT1, but not STAT3, via a conserved interface. While this interaction was irrelevant for type 1 interferon signaling and STAT1 activation, it precluded the nuclear translocation specifically of STAT1 in response to IFN-γ, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-27. This is explained by the dimerization between activated STAT1 and unphosphorylated STAT2, whereby the semiphosphorylated dimers adopted a conformation incapable of importin-α binding. This, in turn, substantially attenuated cardinal IFN-γ responses including MHC expression, senescence, and antiparasitic immunity, and shifted the transcriptional output of IL-27 from STAT1 to STAT3. Our results uncover STAT2 as a pervasive cytokine regulator due to its inhibition of STAT1 in multiple signaling pathways and provide an understanding of the type 1 interferon independent activities of this protein.
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