Stat2 binding to the interferon-alpha receptor 2 subunit is not required for interferon-alpha signaling.
The interferon-alpha (IFNalpha) receptor consists of two subunits, the IFNalpha receptor 1 (IFNaR1) and 2 (IFNaR2) chains. Following ligand binding, IFNaR1 is phosphorylated on tyrosine 466, and this site recruits Stat2 via its SH2 domain. In contrast, IFNaR2 binds Stat2 constitutively. In this study we have characterized the Stat2-IFNaR2 interaction and examined its role in IFNalpha signaling. Stat2 binds the major IFNaR2 protein but not a variant containing a shorter cytoplasmic domain. The interaction does not require a STAT SH2 domain. Both tyrosine-phosphorylated and non-phosphorylated Stat2 bind IFNaR2 in vitro; however, relatively little phosphorylated Stat2 associates with IFNaR2 in vivo. In vitro binding assays defined IFNaR2 residues 418-444 as the minimal interaction domain and site-specific mutation of conserved acidic residues within this domain disrupted in vitro and in vivo binding. An IFNaR2 construct carrying these mutations was either (i) overexpressed in 293T cells or (ii) used to complement IFNaR2-deficient U5A cells. Unexpectedly, the activity of an IFNalpha-dependent reporter gene was not reduced but, instead, was enhanced up to 2-fold. This suggests that this particular IFNaR2-Stat2 interaction is not required for IFNalpha signaling, but might act to negatively inhibit signaling. Finally, a doubly truncated recombinant fragment of Stat2, spanning residues 136-702, associated with IFNaR2 in vitro, indicating that the interaction with IFNaR2 is direct and occurs in a central region of Stat2 marked by a hydrophobic core.
Nguyen, V-P; Saleh, AZM; Arch, AE; Yan, H; Piazza, F; Kim, J; Krolewski, JJ
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