The Journal of experimental medicine

Proteolytic processing of Stat6 signaling in mast cells as a negative regulatory mechanism.

PMID 12093868


Accumulating evidence has shown the importance of Stat6-mediated signaling in allergic diseases. In this study, we show a novel regulatory mechanism of Stat6-mediated signaling in mast cells. When Stat6 is activated by interleukin (IL)-4 and translocated to the nucleus, Stat6 is cleaved by a nucleus-associated protease in mast cells. The cleaved 65-kD Stat6 lacks the COOH-terminal transactivation domain and functions as a dominant-negative molecule to Stat6-mediated transcription. The retrovirus-mediated expression of cleavage-resistant Stat6 mutants prolongs the nuclear accumulation of Stat6 upon IL-4 stimulation and enhances IL-4-induced gene expression and growth inhibition in mast cells. These results indicate that the proteolytic processing of Stat6 functions as a lineage-specific negative regulator of Stat6-dependent signaling in mast cells, and thus suggest that it may account for the limited role of Stat6 in IL-4 signaling in mast cells.