Toward a new STATe: the role of STATs in mitochondrial function

Semin Immunol. 2014 Feb;26(1):20-8. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2013.12.005. Epub 2014 Jan 14.


Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription (STATs) have been studied extensively and have been associated with virtually every biochemical pathway. Until recently, however, they were thought to exert these effects solely as a nuclear transcription factor. The finding that STAT3 localizes to the mitochondria and modulates respiration has opened up a new avenue through which STATs may regulate the cell. Recently, other members of the STAT family (STAT1, STAT2, STAT5, and STAT6) have also been shown to be present in the mitochondria. Coordinate regulation at the nucleus and mitochondria by these proteins places them in a unique position to drive cellular processes to achieve a specific response. This review summarizes recent findings that have led to our current understanding of how STATs influence mitochondrial function in health and disease.

Keywords: Cancer; Ischemia/reperfusion; Metabolism; Mitochondria; Review; STAT3; STATs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • STAT Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism


  • STAT Transcription Factors
  • Trans-Activators