STAT1-induced Apoptosis Is Mediated by Caspases 2, 3, and 7

Juan J. Sironi, Toru Ouchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


STAT1 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 1) has been implicated as a mediator of a variety of biological responses in response to stimulation by specific growth factors and cytokines. To understand better the role of STAT1 in the interferon-γ (IFN-γ)-induced phenotype, we generated an active form of STAT1 (STAT1C) by substituting Cys residues for both Arg-656 and Asn-658 within the C-terminal loop of the STAT1 SH2 domain. The IFN-γ activation site element was stimulated and bound efficiently by STAT1C without IFN-γ treatment. STAT1C was found to be tyrosine-phosphorylated in the nucleus for more than 30 h after IFN-γ stimulation. STAT1-negative U3A cells reexpressing STAT1C showed retarded cell growth and underwent apoptosis when treated with IFN-γ. Further analysis demonstrated that apoptosis was preceded by proteolytic cleavage of caspases 2, 3, and 7, and wild type STAT1 also induced cleavage of caspase 7 when expressed in STAT1-negative U3A cells, indicating that STAT1C augments potential activity of wild type STAT1. Studies with cycloheximide treatment showed that protein synthesis induced in the first 24 h after IFN-γ treatment was required for apoptosis under these conditions. Finally, we found that STAT1C-induced apoptosis was, in part, mediated by caspase 2, 3, and 7 because benzyloxycarbonyl-valyl-aspartyl-valyl-alanyl-aspartic acid fluoromethyl ketone (Z.VDVAD-FMK) treatment partially blocked apoptosis. These results suggest that prolonged nuclear localization of activated STAT1 results in apoptosis involving specific regulation of caspase pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4066-4074
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 6 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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