Author(s): Reich NC
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Abstract Understanding the mechanisms that regulate dynamic localization of a protein within a cell can provide critical insight to its functional molecular interactions. Signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs) play essential roles in development, proliferation, and immune defense. However the consequences of STAT hyperactivity can predispose to diseases including autoimmunity and cancer. To function as transcription factors STATs must gain access to the nucleus, and knowledge of the mechanisms that regulate STAT nuclear trafficking can provide a means to control STAT action. This review presents a synopsis of some of the studies that address the nuclear dynamics of the STAT proteins. Evidence suggests that not all STATs are the same. Nuclear import of STAT1 and STAT4 appears linked to their tyrosine phosphorylation and the formation of parallel dimers via reciprocal phosphotyrosine and Src homology 2 domain interactions. This dimer arrangement generates a conformational nuclear localization signal. STAT2 is imported continually to the nucleus in an unphosphorylated state due to its association with IRF9, but the dominant nuclear export signal of STAT2 shuttles the complex back to the cytoplasm. Following STAT2 tyrosine phosphorylation, it can form dimers with STAT1 to affect nuclear import as the trimeric complex (ISGF3). Distinctly, STAT3, STAT5, and STAT6 are continually imported to the nucleus independent of tyrosine phosphorylation. Mutational studies indicate the nuclear localization signals in these STATs require the conformational structure of their coiled-coil domains. Increases in STAT nuclear accumulation following cytokine stimulation appear coordinate with their ability to bind DNA.
This article was published in JAKSTAT
and referenced in Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine