Identification of a distinct subset of disease-associated gain-of-function missense mutations in the STAT1 coiled-coil domain as system mutants

Jana Petersen, Julia Staab, Oliver Bader, Timo Buhl, Aleksandar Ivetic, Thomas Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Heterozygous gain-of-function (GOF) mutations in the cytokine-regulated transcription factor STAT1 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 1) lead to chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis (CMC). However, the molecular basis of these pathogenic missense mutations is largely unknown. In this study, we characterized in more detail the CMC-associated GOF substitution mutation of arginine-to-tryptophan at position 274 (R274W) and, in addition, the adjacent glutamine-to-alanine mutation at position 275 (Q275A). Both mutants displayed elevated tyrosine phosphorylation levels, prolonged nuclear accumulation, and increased transcriptional responses to interferon-γ (IFNγ) stimulation. No difference was observed between wild-type (WT) and mutant STAT1 in DNA sequence-specificity or dissociation kinetics from high-affinity DNA-binding elements known as gamma-activated sites (GAS). Furthermore, all variants exhibited similar cooperative DNA binding. Unexpectedly, in vitro dephosphorylation rates using the recombinant STAT1-inactivating Tc45 phosphatase in both the absence and presence of double-stranded GAS elements were similar in all STAT1 variants. Likewise, the rate of tyrosine phosphorylation by Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) was unaltered as compared to the WT molecule, excluding that the phenotype of these mutants is caused by either defective Tc45-catalyzed dephosphorylation or JAK2-induced hyper-activation. Interestingly, within 10 min of IFNγ exposure, the majority of R274W and Q275A molecules had entered the nucleus, whereas the wild-type protein remained predominantly cytosolic. Thus, the exchange of critical residues located at the binding interface in the antiparallel dimer conformer led to a premature accumulation of phospho-STAT1 in the nuclear compartment. In summary, our data show that the hyper-activity of the GOF mutations results, at least in part, from the premature nuclear import of the tyrosine-phosphorylated molecules and not from alterations in their phosphorylation or dephosphorylation rates.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-40
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Immunology
Early online date20 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis
  • Dimerization
  • Gain-of-function mutation
  • Interferon signalling
  • STAT1


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