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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cytokine signaling: STATS in plasma membrane rafts.

STAT transcription factors signal from the plasma membrane to the nucleus in response to growth factors and cytokines. We have investigated whether plasma membrane "rafts" are involved in cytokine-activated STAT signaling. Cytokine-free human hepatoma Hep3B cells or cells treated with interleukin-6 (IL-6) or orthovanadate (a general activator of STATs) were fractionated, and plasma membrane raft fractions were obtained by equilibrium sedimentation or flotation through discontinuous sucrose gradients using either non-detergent or detergent-based (saponin or Triton X-100) methods. By Western blotting the plasma membrane raft fractions obtained using either non-detergent or detergent-based methods contained significant amounts of STAT1 and STAT3 (up to approximately 10% of the total cytoplasmic amount) as well as the integral raft proteins caveolin-1 and flotillin-1, the IL-6-receptor signal transducing chain gp130, the interferon-gamma receptor alpha chain (IFN-gammaRalpha), and the chaperone glucose-regulated protein 58 (GRP58/ER-60/ERp57). Upon activation of signaling by IL-6 or orthovanadate the respective Tyr- phosphorylated STAT species were now also observed in the membrane raft fraction but in a form deficient in DNA binding. The data show pre-association of STATs with plasma membrane rafts in flotation fractions, which also contained caveolin-1 and flotillin-1, and suggest that Tyr phosphorylation may not in itself be sufficient to cause the departure of PY-STATs from plasma membrane rafts. Methyl-beta-cyclodextrin, which sequesters cholesterol and disrupts plasma membrane rafts, markedly inhibited IL-6- and IFN-gamma- induced STAT signaling. Signaling through specialized raft microdomains may be a general mechanism operating at the level of the plasma membrane through which cytokines and growth factors activate STAT species (the "raft-STAT signaling hypothesis").[1]


  1. Cytokine signaling: STATS in plasma membrane rafts. Sehgal, P.B., Guo, G.G., Shah, M., Kumar, V., Patel, K. J. Biol. Chem. (2002) [Pubmed]
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