Signal transducer and activator of transcription-1 localizes to the mitochondria and modulates mitophagy
The signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) proteins are latent transcription factors that have been shown to be involved in cell proliferation, development, apoptosis, and autophagy. STAT proteins undergo activation by phosphorylation at tyrosine 701 and serine 727 where they translocate to the nucleus to regulate gene expression. STAT1 has been shown to be involved in promoting apoptotic cell death in response to cardiac ischemia/reperfusion and has recently been shown by our laboratory to be involved in negatively regulating autophagy. These processes are thought to promote cell death and restrict cell survival leading to the generation of an infarct. Here we present data that shows STAT1 localizes to the mitochondria and co-immunoprecipitates with LC3. Furthermore, electron microscopy studies also reveal mitochondria from ex vivo I/R treated hearts of STAT1KO mice contained within a double membrane autophagosome indicating that STAT1 may be involved in negatively regulating mitophagy. This is the first description of STAT1 being localized to the mitochondria and also having a role in mitophagy.
The cardioprotective effects of urocortin are mediated via activation of the Src tyrosine kinase-STAT3 pathway
Src tyrosine kinase family was recently identified as a novel upstream modulator of MAP kinase subfamily, p42/p44, whose activation is required for urocortin (Ucn)-mediated cardioprotection. Src kinase was also shown to reduce apoptosis in different cancer cell lines, enhancing phosphorylation and DNA binding affinity of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)3. In order to evaluate the effects of Ucn on the activation status of different STAT family members, HL-1 cardiac cells were incubated with Ucn (10 nM) for increasing periods of time. STAT3 was rapidly phosphorylated at Tyr705, while neither phosphorylation at Ser727 nor induction of total STAT3 was observed. Pretreatment with PP2, a selective inhibitor of Src tyrosine kinase, reduced the pSTAT−T705 phosphorylation and transcriptional activity induced by Ucn in a dose-dependent manner. Overexpression of STAT3 in HL-1 cardiac myocytes pretreated with Ucn reduced the magnitude of cell death as compared with Ucn treatment alone, while transfection of HL-1 cells with a STAT3 mutant functionally inactive, acting as a dominant negative (DN-STAT3), enhanced the extent of cell death in a dose-dependent manner. In line with this finding, in HL-1 cardiac myocytes overexpressing STAT3 treated with Ucn, addition of the Src kinase inhibitor PP2 reversed the cytoprotective effects of Ucn, proving that the cytoprotective effects of Ucn are also mediated via the Src-pSTAT−T705 phosphorylation pathway. By immunocytochemistry, Ucn induced nuclear translocation of pST3-T705, which was inhibited by pretreatment with PP2. Together, these data strongly suggest that Ucn can mediate cardioprotection by activating the Src-pSTAT-T705 phosphorylation pathway.
JAK2-V617F-induced MAPK activity is regulated by PI3K and acts synergistically with PI3K on the proliferation of JAK2-V617F-positive cells
The identification of a constitutively active JAK2 mutant, namely JAK2-V617F, was a milestone in the understanding of Philadelphia chromosome-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms. The JAK2-V617F mutation confers cytokine hypersensitivity, constitutive activation of the JAK-STAT pathway, and cytokine-independent growth. In this study we investigated the mechanism of JAK2-V617F-dependent signaling with a special focus on the activation of the MAPK pathway. We observed JAK2-V617F-dependent deregulated activation of the multi-site docking protein Gab1 as indicated by constitutive, PI3K-dependent membrane localization and tyrosine phosphorylation of Gab1. Furthermore, we demonstrate that PI3K signaling regulates MAPK activation in JAK2-V617F-positve cells. This cross-regulation of the MAPK pathway by PI3K affects JAK2-V617F-specific target gene induction, erythroid colony formation, and regulates proliferation of JAK2-V617F-positive patient cells in a synergistically manner.
Anti-STAT6 CTL activity in Stat6−/− mice: A cautionary tale
The generation of germline gene mutations in mice has been an invaluable tool for experimental biology. However, studying immune responses that develop in the absence of a specific protein that could alter thymic selection complicates experimental interpretations. We observed that CD8+ T cells from Stat6−/− mice displayed “autoreactivity” to STAT6-expressing cells, associated with specific STAT6 peptides binding to MHC class I molecules. These results suggest caution in interpreting experiments where STAT6-expressing cells are transferred into Stat6−/− mice, or where adoptive transfer of Stat6−/− lymphocytes is performed. Our results further highlight additional considerations when studying immune responses involving cell transfer into gene-deficient mice.
A rapid conformational rearrangement of STAT1 dimers is required for termination rather than for amplification of interferon-γ signaling
Sequence-specific binding of STAT1 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 1) transcription factor to palindromic promoter elements, termed γ-activated sites (GAS), and an extended spatial reorientation between two dimer configurations are key events in the interferon signaling pathway. Although the DNA-binding domain of STAT1 is engaged in both processes, how the conformational change from a parallel to an antiparallel dimer configuration affects cytokine-induced target gene activation is unknown. In order to study the impact of the conformational shift on gene expression, we generated a STAT1 point mutant with a structurally altered architecture of the DNA-binding domain and characterized the resulting mutant (F364A) in cells stimulated with interferon-γ. Here, we report that substituting alanine for phenylalanine at position 364 resulted in reduced affinity to GAS sites and, additionally, a decreased dephosphorylation rate by the inactivating Tc45 phosphatase. The mutant had no defect in cooperative DNA binding and displayed normal kinetics of interferon-γ-induced nuclear accumulation, despite its elevated level of tyrosine phosphorylation. By assessing the transcriptional activity of the mutant, we found a strikingly robust expression of known interferon-γ-driven target genes, indicating that an impaired stability of the antiparallel dimer configuration can compensate for a reduced affinity to GAS sites. However, the mutant followed changes in ligand-induced receptor activation more slowly than the wild-type molecule, as demonstrated by its elevated phospho-STAT1 concentration following addition of the kinase inhibitor staurosporine to interferon-pretreated cells. This finding showed that the DNA-binding mutant F364A had partially lost its ability to terminate signal transmission rapidly. Thus, the coupling of high-affinity GAS binding to a rapid exchange from a parallel to an antiparallel dimer conformation is not necessarily required for optimal signal amplification, but rather allows for a dynamic signal response and ensures high adaptability to changes in signal input.
Angiotensin II induces cell growth and IL-6 mRNA expression through the JAK2-STAT3 pathway in rat cerebellar astrocytes
The pleiotrophic effects of angiotensin II (Ang II) play important roles in astrocyte growth and inflammatory responses. We investigated whether Ang II induces astrocyte growth and interleukin-6 (IL-6) mRNA expression in rat cerebellar astrocytes through Janus kinase 2-signal transduction activator of transcription (JAK2-STAT3). Ang II increased JAK2 and STAT3 phosphorylation in a time- and a dose-dependent manner. One hundred nanomolar Ang II induced maximal phosphorylation of both JAK2 and STAT3 between 15 min and 30 min. The Ang II-mediated phosphorylation of both JAK2 and STAT3 was blocked by AG490, a selective JAK2 inhibitor. Losartan, a selective AT1 receptor antagonist, inhibited Ang II-mediated JAK2 and STAT3 phosphorylation, while pretreatment with an AT2 receptor blocker, PD123319, was ineffective. Ang II increased the mRNA expression of IL-6 in a concentration-and time-dependent manner. Maximal IL-6 mRNA expression occurred with 100 nM Ang II, and the peak effect occurred in a biphasic manner at 3 h and between 12 and 24 h. Moreover, pretreatments with AG490 attenuated Ang II-induced IL-6 mRNA levels, and Ang II-induced astrocyte growth. This study has demonstrated that Ang II induced the phosphorylation of both JAK2 and STAT3 via the AT1 receptor in cerebellar astrocytes. In addition, our results suggest that JAK2 and STAT3 are upstream signals that mediate Ang II-induced IL-6 mRNA expression and astrocyte growth. These findings represent a novel non-classical mechanism of Ang II signaling in cerebellar astrocytes.