Cells maintain the balance between homeostasis and inflammation by adapting and integrating the activity of intracellular signaling cascades, including the JAK-STAT pathway. Our understanding of how a tailored switch from homeostasis to a strong receptor-dependent response is coordinated remains limited. Here, we use an integrated transcriptomic and proteomic approach to analyze transcription-factor binding, gene expression and in vivo proximity-dependent labelling of proteins in living cells under homeostatic and interferon (IFN)-induced conditions. We show that interferons (IFN) switch murine macrophages from resting-state to induced gene expression by alternating subunits of transcription factor ISGF3. Whereas preformed STAT2-IRF9 complexes control basal expression of IFN-induced genes (ISG), both type I IFN and IFN-γ cause promoter binding of a complete ISGF3 complex containing STAT1, STAT2 and IRF9. In contrast to the dogmatic view of ISGF3 formation in the cytoplasm, our results suggest a model wherein the assembly of the ISGF3 complex occurs on DNA.