Biological Functions of STATs

Gene targeting studies have identified the physiological functions of STATs. The phenotypes of STAT knockout mice are summarized in this section.


STAT1 was first shown to be activated by both type I and type II IFNs (Schindler et al., 1992; Shuai et al., 1992). Subsequently, it was found that many cytokines and growth factors, such as IL-2 and EGF, could also activate STAT1 (Fu and Zhang, 1993; Sadowski et al., 1993). However, gene-targeting studies have demonstrated that the physiological function of STAT1 in cytokine signaling is rather specific. Statl null mice showed no apparent defects in animal development. However, Statl null mice were hypersensitive to viral and microbial infections (Durbin et al., 1996; Meraz et al., 1996). These findings are consistent with an essential role of STAT 1 in IFN signaling.

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