Multiple reasons for an inefficient STAT1 response upon IL-6-type cytokine stimulation

Cell Signal. 2005 Dec;17(12):1542-50. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2005.03.010.


IL-6-type cytokines play an important role during inflammation and the immune response. In addition, they are involved in haematopoiesis, liver and neuronal regeneration, embryonic development and fertility. We found that IL-6-type cytokine stimulation of cell lines and primary human macrophages results in a different distribution of the DNA-binding competent STAT dimer species in the cytosol and nucleus as demonstrated by electrophoretic mobility shift assays. In the absence of detergent, STAT3/STAT3, STAT1/STAT3 were the predominant species in the cytoplasm while STAT3/STAT3 was predominant in the nucleus. However, in detergent containing total cellular lysates and nuclear fractions prepared with detergent containing buffers, the STAT1/STAT1 homodimer was as prominent or even more prominent than STAT3/STAT3 and STAT1/STAT3. We were interested in the cause of this discrepancy since STAT1-regulated genes have not been described to be expressed upon IL-6-type cytokine stimulation. In addition to the more transient STAT1 activation, IL-6-type cytokines such as IL-6 and OSM lead to a much less efficient STAT1 activation compared to the potent STAT1 activators IFNgamma and IFNalpha. Studies with STAT1-deficient cells revealed that STAT1 activation does not seem to be an important competitive process to STAT3 activation arguing again for a very inefficient STAT1 activation upon IL-6-type cytokine stimulation. We also describe that pY-STAT3 is much more efficiently shuttled into the nucleus than pY-STAT1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cytosol / metabolism
  • Dimerization
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / physiology
  • Interferon-gamma / physiology
  • Interleukin-6 / physiology
  • Janus Kinase 1
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Phosphorylation
  • Plasmids
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Transfection


  • Interferon-alpha
  • Interleukin-6
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor
  • STAT1 protein, human
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • JAK1 protein, human
  • Janus Kinase 1