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    Signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) proteins are latent cytoplasmic transcription factors essential for cytokine signaling. Our previous study showed that interleukin-3 (IL-3) induced STAT5 translocation to mitochondria and binding to mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in vitro. In this report, we further demonstrated in vivo binding of endogenous STAT5a to mtDNA transcriptional control region and reduced gene expression from all three mtDNA promoters after IL-3 stimulation. To specifically define the function of mitochondrial STAT5a, we generated mitochondrial-targeting wild-type and mutant STAT5a proteins. Compared with non-targeting STAT5a, mitochondrial-targeting wild-type STAT5a significantly reduced mitochondrial gene expression in transfected HEK293 cells. The level of attenuation was amplified in cells expressing constitutively active STAT5a, but abrogated in cells expressing DNA-binding-defective STAT5a. STAT5a-mediated repression of mtDNA expression also positively correlated with STAT5a binding to the E2 subunit of pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC-E2), both a gate-keeping metabolic enzyme and a component of mtDNA nucleoid in mitochondrial matrix. Metabolic shift away from mitochondrial respiration is known in many cytokine-stimulated cells and cancer cells. STAT5a-mediated repression of mitochondrial gene expression and its interaction with PDC-E2 may provide important insights into its underlying mechanisms. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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    Fu-Yu Chueh, Ying-Ling Chang, Shin-Yu Wu, Chao-Lan Yu. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 5a (STAT5a) represses mitochondrial gene expression through direct binding to mitochondrial DNA. Biochemical and biophysical research communications. 2020 Jul 05;527(4):974-978

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    PMID: 32446558

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