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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Nov 26;402(4):778-83. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.10.112. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

Mitochondrial translocation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) in leukemic T cells and cytokine-stimulated cells.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL 60064, USA.


Signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs) were first identified as key signaling molecules in response to cytokines. Constitutive STAT activation also has been widely implicated in oncogenesis. We analyzed STAT5-associated proteins in a leukemic T cell line LSTRA, which exhibits constitutive tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of STAT5. A cellular protein was found to specifically interact with STAT5 in LSTRA cells by co-immunoprecipitation. Sequencing analysis and subsequent immunoblotting confirmed the identity of this STAT5-associated protein as the E2 component of mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC-E2). Consistent with this interaction, both subcellular fractionation and immunofluorescence microscopy revealed mitochondrial localization of STAT5 in LSTRA cells. Mitochondrial localization of tyrosine-phosphorylated STAT5 also occurred in cytokine-stimulated cells. A time course experiment further demonstrated the transient kinetics of STAT5 mitochondrial translocation after cytokine stimulation. In contrast, cytokine-induced STAT1 and STAT3 activation did not result in their translocation into mitochondria. Furthermore, we showed that mitochondrial STAT5 bound to the D-loop regulatory region of mitochondrial DNA in vitro. It suggests a potential role of STAT5 in regulating the mitochondrial genome. Proliferative metabolism toward aerobic glycolysis is well known in cancer cells as the Warburg effect and is also observed in cytokine-stimulated cells. Our novel findings of cytokine-induced STAT5 translocation into mitochondria and its link to oncogenesis provide important insights into the underlying mechanisms of this characteristic metabolic shift.

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