Implications of STAT3 and STAT5 signaling on gene regulation and chromatin remodeling in hematopoietic cancer

Leukemia. 2018 Aug;32(8):1713-1726. doi: 10.1038/s41375-018-0117-x. Epub 2018 Mar 27.


STAT3 and STAT5 proteins are oncogenic downstream mediators of the JAK-STAT pathway. Deregulated STAT3 and STAT5 signaling promotes cancer cell proliferation and survival in conjunction with other core cancer pathways. Nuclear phosphorylated STAT3 and STAT5 regulate cell-type-specific transcription profiles via binding to promoter elements and exert more complex functions involving interaction with various transcriptional coactivators or corepressors and chromatin remodeling proteins. The JAK-STAT pathway can rapidly reshape the chromatin landscape upon cytokine, hormone, or growth factor stimulation and unphosphorylated STAT proteins also appear to be functional with respect to regulating chromatin accessibility. Notably, cancer genome landscape studies have implicated mutations in various epigenetic modifiers as well as the JAK-STAT pathway as underlying causes of many cancers, particularly acute leukemia and lymphomas. However, it is incompletely understood how mutations within these pathways can interact and synergize to promote cancer. We summarize the current knowledge of oncogenic STAT3 and STAT5 functions downstream of cytokine signaling and provide details on prerequisites for DNA binding and gene transcription. We also discuss key interactions of STAT3 and STAT5 with chromatin remodeling factors such as DNA methyltransferases, histone modifiers, cofactors, corepressors, and other transcription factors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / genetics
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor