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J Biol Chem. 2000 Jan 28;275(4):2693-7.

Recruitment of Stat4 to the human interferon-alpha/beta receptor requires activated Stat2.

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Department of Pathology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Stat4 activation is involved in differentiation of type 1 helper (Th1) T cells. Although Stat4 is activated by interleukin (IL)-12 in both human and murine T cells, Stat4 is activated by interferon (IFN)-alpha only in human, but not murine, CD4(+) T cells. This species-specific difference in cytokine activation of Stat4 underlies critical differences in Th1 development in response to cytokines and is important to the interpretation of murine models of immunopathogenesis. Here, we sought to determine the mechanism of Stat4 recruitment and activation by the human IFN-alpha receptor. Analysis of phosphopeptide binding analysis suggests that Stat4 does not interact directly with tyrosine-phosphorylated amino acid residues within the cytoplasmic domains of either of the subunits of the IFN-alpha receptor complex. Expression of murine Stat4 in the Stat1-deficient U3A and the Stat2-deficient U6A cell lines shows that IFN-alpha-induced Stat4 phosphorylation requires the presence of activated Stat2 but not Stat1. Thus, in contrast to the direct recruitment of Stat4 by the IL-12 receptor, Stat4 activation by the human IFN-alpha receptor occurs through indirect recruitment by intermediates involving Stat2.

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