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Nature. 2005 Aug 11;436(7052):871-5.

Identification of JAK/STAT signalling components by genome-wide RNA interference.

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Department of Molecular Developmental Biology, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Am Fassberg 11, 37077 Göttingen, Germany.


Signalling pathways mediating the transduction of information between cells are essential for development, cellular differentiation and homeostasis. Their dysregulation is also frequently associated with human malignancies. The Janus tyrosine kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) pathway represents one such signalling cascade whose evolutionarily conserved roles include cell proliferation and haematopoiesis. Here we describe a systematic genome-wide survey for genes required for JAK/STAT pathway activity. Analysis of 20,026 RNA interference (RNAi)-induced phenotypes in cultured Drosophila melanogaster haemocyte-like cells identified interacting genes encoding 4 known and 86 previously uncharacterized proteins. Subsequently, cell-based epistasis experiments were used to classify these proteins on the basis of their interaction with known components of the signalling cascade. In addition to multiple human disease gene homologues, we have found the tyrosine phosphatase Ptp61F and the Drosophila homologue of BRWD3, a bromo-domain-containing protein disrupted in leukaemia. Moreover, in vivo analysis demonstrates that disrupted dBRWD3 and overexpressed Ptp61F function as suppressors of leukaemia-like blood cell tumours. This screen represents a comprehensive identification of novel loci required for JAK/STAT signalling and provides molecular insights into an important pathway relevant for human cancer. Human homologues of identified pathway modifiers may constitute targets for therapeutic interventions.

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