Differential regulation of STAT family members by glycogen synthase kinase-3

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118 Scopus citations


Excessive neuroinflammation contributes to many neurological disorders and is poorly controlled therapeutically. The signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) family of transcription factors has a central role in inflammatory reactions, being stimulated by multiple cytokines and interferons and regulating the expression of many proteins involved in inflammation. We found that STAT3 activation is highly dependent on glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3). Inhibitors of GSK3 greatly reduced (>75%) the activating STAT3 tyrosine phosphorylation in mouse primary astrocytes, microglia, and macrophage-derived RAW264.7 cells induced by interferon-γ (IFNγ), IFNα, interleukin-6, or insulin. GSK3 inhibitors blocked STAT3 DNA binding activity and the expression of STAT3-induced GFAP and Bcl-3. GSK3 dependence was selective for activation of STAT3 and STAT5, whereas STAT1 and STAT6 activation were GSK3-independent. Knockdown of the two GSK3 isoforms showed STAT3 and STAT5 activation were dependent on GSK3β, but not GSK3α. The regulatory mechanism involved GSK3β binding STAT3 and promoting its association with the IFNγ receptor-associated intracellular signaling complex responsible for activating STAT3. Furthermore, GSK3β associated with the IFNγ receptor and was activated by stimulation with IFNγ. Thus, inhibitors of GSK3 reduce the activation of STAT3 and STAT5, providing a mechanism to differentially regulate STATs to modulate the inflammatory response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21934-21944
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 8 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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