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Nat Immunol. 2002 Sep;3(9):859-66. Epub 2002 Aug 12.

Sensitization of IFN-gamma Jak-STAT signaling during macrophage activation.

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Graduate Program in Immunology, Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University, New York, NY 10021, USA.


A general paradigm in signal transduction is ligand-induced feedback inhibition and the desensitization of signaling. We found that subthreshold concentrations of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), which did not activate macrophages, increased their sensitivity to subsequent IFN-gamma stimulation; this resulted in increased signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) activation and increased IFN-gamma#150;dependent gene activation. Sensitization of IFN-gamma signaling was mediated by the induction of STAT1 expression by low doses of IFN-gamma that did not effectively induce feedback inhibition. IFN-gamma signaling was sensitized in vivo after IFN-gamma injection, and STAT1 expression was increased after injection of lipopolysaccharide and in rheumatoid arthritis synovial cells. These results identify a mechanism that sensitizes macrophages to low concentrations of IFN-gamma and regulates IFN-gamma responses in acute and chronic inflammation.

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