Distinct molecular response patterns of activating STAT3 mutations associate with penetrance of lymphoproliferation and autoimmunity

Clin Immunol. 2020 Jan:210:108316. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2019.108316. Epub 2019 Nov 23.


Germline STAT3 gain-of-function (GOF) mutations have been linked to poly-autoimmunity and lymphoproliferation with variable expressivity and incomplete penetrance. Here we studied the impact of 17 different STAT3 GOF mutations on the canonical STAT3 signaling pathway and correlated the molecular results with clinical manifestations. The mutations clustered in three groups. Group 1 mutants showed altered STAT3 phosphorylation kinetics and strong basal transcriptional activity. They were associated with the highest penetrance of lymphoproliferation and autoimmunity. Group 2 mutants showed a strongly inducible transcriptional reporter activity and were clinically less penetrant. Group 3 mutants were mostly located in the DNA binding domain and showed the strongest DNA binding affinity despite a poor transcriptional reporter response. Thus, the GOF effect of STAT3 mutations is determined by a heterogeneous response pattern at the molecular level. The correlation of response pattern and clinical penetrance indicates a significant contribution of mutation-determined effects on disease manifestations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmunity / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Female
  • Gain of Function Mutation / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Male
  • Multigene Family
  • Penetrance
  • Phosphorylation
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / genetics*
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • STAT3 Transcription Factor