STAT mutations as program switchers: turning primary immunodeficiencies into autoimmune diseases

J Leukoc Biol. 2017 Jan;101(1):29-38. doi: 10.1189/jlb.5RI0516-237RR. Epub 2016 Nov 1.


STAT proteins are a family of transcription factors that mediate cellular response to cytokines and growth factors. Study of patients with familial susceptibility to pathogens and/or autoimmune diseases has led to the identification of 7 inherited disorders that are caused by mutations of 4 STAT family genes. Homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations of STAT1 lead to complete or partial forms of STAT1 deficiency that are associated with susceptibility to intracellular pathogens and herpetic infections. Patients with heterozygous STAT1 gain-of-function (GOF) mutations usually present with chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (CMC) but may also experience bacterial and viral infections, autoimmune manifestations, lymphopenia, cerebral aneurysms, and increased risk to develop tumors. STAT2 deficiency has been described in 5 family members and is characterized by selective susceptibility to viral infections, whereas STAT3 loss-of-function (LOF) mutations are causative of the autosomal-dominant hyper-IgE syndrome (HIES), a condition that is characterized by cutaneous and respiratory infections in association with mucocutaneous candidiasis, eczema, skeletal and connective tissue abnormalities, eosinophilia, and high levels IgE. STAT5B LOF and STAT3 GOF mutations are both associated with disorders characterized by autoimmune or allergic manifestations, together with increased risk of infections. Particularly, STAT5b deficiency results in growth hormone (GH) insensitivity, immunodeficiency, diarrhea, and generalized eczema, whereas STAT3 GOF mutations result in autoimmune cytopenia, lymphadenopathy, short stature, infections, enteropathy, and multiorgan autoimmunity, including early-onset type I diabetes, thyroiditis, hepatitis, arthritis, and interstitial lung disease.

Keywords: cytokines; infection; signal transduction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / genetics*
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Deficiency Syndromes / genetics*
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • STAT Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • STAT Transcription Factors