STAT5 signaling in sexually dimorphic gene expression and growth patterns

Am J Hum Genet. 1999 Oct;65(4):959-65. doi: 10.1086/302599.


The past 10 years have seen enormous advances in our understanding of how cytokine signals are mediated intracellularly. Of particular significance was the discovery of a family of seven Signal Transducer and Activators of Transcription (STAT) proteins. Each of these has now been studied in detail, and appropriate gene-disrupted mouse models are available for all except STAT2 (Leonard and O'Shea 1998). Fetal lethality is observed in Stat3-deficient mice, and various immunodeficiencies characterize mice with disrupted Stat1, Stat4, and Stat6 genes, which is consistent with impaired signaling from the specific cytokines that activate each of these proteins. The recent characterization of Stat5-deficient mice has led to several unanticipated findings that point to diverse biological functions for the two STAT5 forms, STAT5a and STAT5b. These include roles for one or both STAT5 forms in the immune system, hematopoiesis, sexually dimorphic growth, mammary development, hair growth, deposition of adipose tissue, and pregnancy. Here we review the hormone- and cytokine-activated signaling pathways in which STAT5 participates and the extensive evidence, from laboratory animals, that these factors are required for sex-specific aspects of development, including control of body size. Finally, we consider human growth disorders that may involve defects in STAT5-dependent signal transduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • Cytokines / physiology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Growth Disorders / genetics
  • Human Growth Hormone / physiology
  • Humans
  • Janus Kinase 1
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Male
  • Milk Proteins*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Sex Differentiation / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Trans-Activators / physiology*
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins


  • Cytokines
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Milk Proteins
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor
  • STAT5A protein, human
  • STAT5B protein, human
  • Trans-Activators
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • JAK1 protein, human
  • Jak1 protein, mouse
  • Janus Kinase 1