ABSTRACT: Characterization of the ability of human interferons (IFNs) to rapidly induce genes led to the identification of the first two members of the STAT (signal transducers and activators of transcription) family, Stat1 and Stat2. To study the unique role of this transcription factor in IFN signaling under more physiological conditions, murine Stat2 was isolated and found to be surprisingly divergent. This divergence was most striking in the C-terminal transcriptional activation domain. Studies on murine Stat2 indicate that it functions in IFN signaling. This includes IFN-alpha-dependent activation, nuclear translocation, DNA binding and activation of reporter genes. However, the profound divergence at the C-terminus suggests that murine Stat2 may have evolved to mediate some unique functions as well. To explore this possibility, proteins that interact with the C-termini of murine and human Stat2 were examined. These studies indicate that the murine and human C-termini interact with an overlapping, but distinct set of proteins.
Project description:Excessive type I interferon (IFN?/?) activity is implicated in a spectrum of human disease, yet its direct role remains to be conclusively proven. We investigated two siblings with severe early-onset autoinflammatory disease and an elevated IFN signature. Whole-exome sequencing revealed a shared homozygous missense Arg148Trp variant in STAT2, a transcription factor that functions exclusively downstream of innate IFNs. Cells bearing STAT2R148W in homozygosity (but not heterozygosity) were hypersensitive to IFN?/?, which manifest as prolonged Janus kinase-signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) signaling and transcriptional activation. We show that this gain of IFN activity results from the failure of mutant STAT2R148W to interact with ubiquitin-specific protease 18, a key STAT2-dependent negative regulator of IFN?/? signaling. These observations reveal an essential in vivo function of STAT2 in the regulation of human IFN?/? signaling, providing concrete evidence of the serious pathological consequences of unrestrained IFN?/? activity and supporting efforts to target this pathway therapeutically in IFN-associated disease.
Project description:TLR-stimulated cross-presentation by conventional dendritic cells (cDCs) is important in host defense and antitumor immunity. We recently reported that cDCs lacking the type I IFN signaling molecule STAT2 are impaired in cross-presenting tumor Ags to CD8(+) T cells. To investigate how STAT2 affects cross-presentation, we determined its requirements for dendritic cell activation. In this study, we report that STAT2 is essential for the activation of murine female cDCs upon TLR3, -4, -7, and -9 stimulation. In response to various TLR ligands, Stat2(-/-) cDCs displayed reduced expression of costimulatory molecules and type I IFN-stimulated genes. The cDC responses to exogenous IFN-? that we evaluated required STAT2 activation, indicating that the canonical STAT1-STAT2 heterodimers are the primary signaling transducers of type I IFNs in cDCs. Interestingly, LPS-induced production of IL-12 was STAT2 and type I IFN receptor (IFNAR) dependent, whereas LPS-induced production of TNF-? and IL-6 was STAT2 and IFNAR independent, suggesting a specific role of the IFNAR-STAT2 axis in the stimulation of proinflammatory cytokines by LPS in cDCs. In contrast, R848- and CpG-induced cytokine production was less influenced by the IFNAR-STAT2 axis. Short kinetics and IFNAR blockade studies showed that STAT2 main function is to transduce signals triggered by autocrine type I IFNs. Importantly, Stat2(-/-) cDCs were deficient in cross-presenting to CD8(+) T cells in vitro upon IFN-?, CpG, and LPS stimulation, and also in cross-priming and licensing cytotoxic T cell killers in vivo. We conclude that STAT2 plays a critical role in TLR-induced dendritic cell activation and cross-presentation, and thus is vital in host defense.
Project description: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-?, 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-? binding. This, in turn, substantially attenuated cardinal IFN-? 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.
Project description:The murine 2'-5' oligoadenylate synthetase 1a (Oas1a) and Oas1b genes are type 1 IFN responsive genes. Oas1a is an active synthetase with broad antiviral activity mediated through RNase L. Oas1b is inactive but can inhibit Oas1a synthetase activity and mediate a flavivirus-specific antiviral activity through an unknown RNase L-independent mechanism. Analysis of promoter elements regulating gene transcription confirmed that an IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE) is required for IFN beta-activation but neither the overlapping IRF binding site present in both promoters nor the adjacent Oas1b NF-kappa B site is required. Mutation of the overlapping STAT site negatively affected IFN beta-induction of Oas1a but not of Oas1b. Also, IFN beta induction of Oas1a was STAT1- and STAT2-dependent, while induction of Oas1b was STAT1-independent but STAT2-dependent. The two promoters differ at a single nucleotide in the STAT site. The data indicate that these two duplicated genes can be differentially regulated by IFN beta.
Project description:Evidence is accumulating for the existence of a signal transducer and activator of transcription 2 (STAT2)/interferon regulatory factor 9 (IRF9)-dependent, STAT1-independent interferon alpha (IFN?) signalling pathway. However, no detailed insight exists into the genome-wide transcriptional regulation and the biological implications of STAT2/IRF9-dependent IFN? signalling as compared with interferon-stimulated gene factor 3 (ISGF3). In STAT1-defeicient U3C cells stably overexpressing human STAT2 (hST2-U3C) and STAT1-deficient murine embryonic fibroblast cells stably overexpressing mouse STAT2 (mST2-MS1KO) we observed that the IFN?-induced expression of 2'-5'-oligoadenylate synthase 2 (OAS2) and interferon-induced protein with tetratricopeptide repeats 1 (Ifit1) correlated with the kinetics of STAT2 phosphorylation, and the presence of a STAT2/IRF9 complex requiring STAT2 phosphorylation and the STAT2 transactivation domain. Subsequent microarray analysis of IFN?-treated wild-type (WT) and STAT1 KO cells overexpressing STAT2 extended our observations and identified ?120 known antiviral ISRE-containing interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) commonly up-regulated by STAT2/IRF9 and ISGF3. The STAT2/IRF9-directed expression profile of these IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) was prolonged as compared with the early and transient response mediated by ISGF3. In addition, we identified a group of 'STAT2/IRF9-specific' ISGs, whose response to IFN? was ISGF3-independent. Finally, STAT2/IRF9 was able to trigger an antiviral response upon encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) and vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus (VSV). Our results further prove that IFN?-activated STAT2/IRF9 induces a prolonged ISGF3-like transcriptome and generates an antiviral response in the absence of STAT1. Moreover, the existence of 'STAT2/IRF9-specific' target genes predicts a novel role of STAT2 in IFN? signalling.
Project description:In response to IFN?, the IL6 gene is activated, modestly at early times by ISGF3 (IRF9 plus tyrosine-phosphorylated STATs 1 and 2), and strongly at late times by U-ISGF3 (IRF9 plus U-STATs 1 and 2, lacking tyrosine phosphorylation). A classical IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE) at -1,513 to -1,526 in the human <i>IL6</i> promoter is required. Pretreating cells with IFN? or increasing the expression of U-STAT2 and IRF9 exogenously greatly enhances IL6 expression in response to the classical NF-?B activators IL1, TNF, and LPS. U-STAT2 binds tightly to IRF9, the DNA binding subunit of ISGF3, and also to the p65 subunit of NF-?B. Therefore, as shown by ChIP analyses, U-STAT2 can bridge the ISRE and ?B elements in the <i>IL6</i> promoter. In some cancer cells, the protumorigenic activation of STAT3 will be enhanced by the increased synthesis of IL6 that is facilitated by high expression of U-STAT2 and IRF9.
Project description:Interferons (IFNs) play a crucial role in host antiviral response by activating the JAK/STAT (Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription) signaling pathway to induce the expression of myriad genes. STAT2 is a key player in the IFN-activated JAK/STAT signaling. Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is an important viral pathogen, causing huge losses to the swine industry. PRRSV infection elicits a meager protective immune response in pigs. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of PRRSV on STAT2 signaling. Here, we demonstrated that PRRSV downregulated STAT2 to inhibit IFN-activated signaling. PRRSV strains of both PRRSV-1 and PRRSV-2 species reduced the STAT2 protein level, whereas the STAT2 transcript level had minimal change. PRRSV reduced the STAT2 level in a dose-dependent manner and shortened STAT2 half-life significantly from approximately 30 to 5?h. PRRSV-induced STAT2 degradation could be restored by treatment with the proteasome inhibitor MG132 and lactacystin. In addition, PRRSV nonstructural protein 11 (nsp11) was identified to interact with and reduce STAT2. The N-terminal domain (NTD) of nsp11 was responsible for STAT2 degradation and interacted with STAT2 NTD and the coiled-coil domain. Mutagenesis analysis showed that the amino acid residue K59 of nsp11 was indispensable for inducing STAT2 reduction. Mutant PRRSV with the K59A mutation generated by reverse genetics almost lost the ability to reduce STAT2. Together, these results demonstrate that PRRSV nsp11 antagonizes IFN signaling via mediating STAT2 degradation and provide further insights into the PRRSV interference of the innate immunity.IMPORTANCE PRRSV infection elicits a meager protective immune response in pigs. One of the possible reasons is that PRRSV antagonizes interferon induction and its downstream signaling. Interferons are key components in the innate immunity and play crucial roles against viral infection and in the activation of adaptive immune response via JAK/STAT signaling. STAT2 is indispensable in the JAK/STAT signaling since it is also involved in activation of antiviral activity in the absence of STAT1. Here, we discovered that PRRSV nsp11 downregulates STAT2. Interestingly, the N-terminal domain of nsp11 is responsible for inducing STAT2 degradation and directly interacts with STAT2 N-terminal domain. We also identified a crucial amino acid residue K59 in nsp11 since a mutation of it led to loss of the ability to downregulate STAT2. A mutant PRRSV with mutation of K59 had minimal effect on STAT2 reduction. Our data provide further insights into PRRSV interference with interferon signaling.
Project description:The ability of interferon (IFN) to induce the expression of antiviral genes, and therefore suppress viral infection, is dependent on the activity of cellular suppressors. The Ras/MEK pathway is one of these cellular suppressors, since the activation of Ras/MEK permits viral replication in the presence of alpha IFN (IFN-alpha). Here, we have investigated the mechanism by which activated Ras/MEK inhibits the IFN-alpha response. We found that the induction of antiviral proteins in response to IFN-alpha was impaired in Ras-transformed NIH 3T3 (RasV12) cells. The inhibition of the Ras/MEK pathway restored the IFN-mediated induction of antiviral genes, indicating that activated Ras interrupts the IFN pathway upstream of antiviral gene transcription. Indeed, the IFN-induced phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) and STAT2 was inhibited in RasV12 cells compared to that of vector control cells. In addition, we found that the total amount of STAT2 was reduced in RasV12 cells. To determine if the impaired IFN-alpha response can be rescued by restoring the overall level of STAT2, we overexpressed STAT2 in RasV12 cells. The IFN-alpha-induced phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT2, as well as the expression of antiviral protein, were restored, and IFN-induced antiviral protection was partially restored. Moreover, we demonstrated that the downregulation of STAT2 levels by Ras/MEK was mediated at the transcriptional level. Thus, the activation of the Ras/MEK pathway reduces the amount of STAT2 available for propagating the IFN signal, resulting in the impairment of the IFN-alpha-induced antiviral response.
Project description:Signal transducer and activator of transcription 2 (STAT2) is an essential transcription factor in the type I IFN (IFN-alpha/beta) signal transduction pathway and known for its role in mediating antiviral immunity and cell growth inhibition. Unlike other members of the STAT family, IFNs are the only cytokines known to date that can activate STAT2. Given the inflammatory and antiproliferative dual nature of IFNs, we hypothesized that STAT2 prevents inflammation-induced colorectal and skin carcinogenesis by altering the inflammatory immune response. Contrary to our hypothesis, deletion of STAT2 inhibited azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate-induced colorectal carcinogenesis as measured by prolonged survival, lower adenoma incidence, smaller polyps, and less chronic inflammation. STAT2 deficiency also inhibited 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene/12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced skin carcinogenesis as indicated by reduced papilloma multiplicity. A potential mechanism by which STAT2 promotes carcinogenesis is through activation of proinflammatory mediators. Deletion of STAT2 decreased azoxymethane/dextran sodium sulfate-induced expression and release of proinflammatory mediators, such as interleukin-6 and CCL2, and decreased interleukin-6 release from skin carcinoma cells, which then decreased STAT3 activation. Our findings identify STAT2 as a novel contributor to colorectal and skin carcinogenesis that may act to increase the gene expression and secretion of proinflammatory mediators, which in turn activate the oncogenic STAT3 signaling pathway.
Project description:The role of STAT2 in mediating the antigrowth effects of type I interferon (IFN) is well-documented in vitro. Yet evidence of IFN-activated STAT2 as having tumor suppressor function in vivo and participation in antitumor immunity is lacking. Here we show in a syngeneic tumor transplantation model that STAT2 reduces tumor growth. Stat2(-/-) mice formed larger tumors compared to wild type (WT) mice. IFN-? treatment of Stat2(-/-) mice did not cause tumor regression. Gene expression analysis revealed a small subset of immunomodulatory genes to be downregulated in tumors established in Stat2(-/-) mice. Additionally, we found tumor antigen cross-presentation by Stat2(-/-) dendritic cells to T cells to be impaired. Adoptive transfer of tumor antigen specific CD8(+) T cells primed by Stat2(-/-) dendritic cells into tumor-bearing Stat2(-/-) mice did not induce tumor regression with IFN-? intervention. We observed that an increase in the number of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in the draining lymph nodes of IFN-?-treated tumor-bearing WT mice was absent in IFN-? treated Stat2(-/-) mice. Thus our study provides evidence for further evaluation of STAT2 function in cancer patients receiving type I IFN based immunotherapy.