Interaction of stem cell factor (SCF), a haematopoietic growth factor, with the receptor tyrosine kinase c-kit leads to autophosphorylation of c-kit as well as tyrosine phosphorylation of various substrates. Little is known about the role of the JAK/STAT pathway in signal transduction via receptor tyrosine kinases, although this pathway has been well characterized in cytokine receptor signal transduction. We recently found that the Janus kinase Jak2 associates with c-kit and that SCF induces rapid and transient phosphorylation of Jak2. Here we present evidence that SCF activates the transcription factor Stat1. Phosphorylated c-kit co-immunoprecipitates with Stat1 within 1 min of SCF stimulation of the human cell line MO7e. Co-precipitation experiments using glutathione S-transferase fusion proteins indicate that association with c-kit is mediated by the Stat1 SH2 domain. Stat1 is rapidly tyrosine-phosphorylated in response to SCF in MO7e cells, the murine cell line FDCP-1 and normal progenitor cells. SCF-induced phosphorylation of Jak2 and Stat1 was also observed in murine 3T3 fibroblasts stably transfected with full-length human c-kit receptor. Furthermore c-kit directly phosphorylates Stat1 fusion proteins in in vitro kinase assays. Electrophoretic mobility-shift assays with nuclear extracts from SCF-stimulated cell lines and normal progenitor cells indicate that activated Stat1 binds the m67 oligonucleotide, a high-affinity SIE promoter sequence. These results demonstrate that Stat1 is activated in response to SCF, and suggest that Stat1 is a component of the SCF signal-transduction pathway.

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