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Arthritis Res Ther. 2004;6(4):159-68. Epub 2004 Jun 21.

Signaling by STATs.

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Arthritis and Tissue Degeneration Program, Hospital for Special Surgery, Graduate Program in Immunology, Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University, New York, New York, USA.


A variety of cytokines and growth factors use the Janus kinase (Jak)-STAT signaling pathway to transmit extracellular signals to the nucleus. STATs (signal transducers and activators of transcription) are latent cytoplasmic transcription factors. There are seven mammalian STATs and they have critical, nonredundant roles in mediating cellular transcriptional responses to cytokines. The physiological roles of STATs have been elucidated by analysis of mice rendered deficient in STAT genes. STAT activation is regulated and can be modulated in a positive or negative fashion; it can be reprogrammed to drive different cellular responses. Several auto-regulatory and signaling crosstalk mechanisms for regulating Jak-STAT signaling have been described. Understanding and manipulation of the function of STATs will help in the development of therapeutic strategies for diseases that are regulated by cytokines.

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