The expressions of CNT and ENT (concentrative and equilibrative nucleoside transporters) in macrophages are differentially regulated by IFN-γ (interferon-γ). This cytokine controls gene expression through STAT1-dependent and/or -independent pathways (where STAT1 stands for signal transduction and activator of transcription 1). In the present study, the role of STAT1 in the response of nucleoside transporters to IFN-γ was studied using macrophages from STAT1 knockout mice. IFN-γ triggered an inhibition of ENT1-related nucleoside transport activity through STAT1-dependent mechanisms. Such inhibition of macrophage growth and ENT1 activity by IFN-γ is required for DNA synthesis. Interestingly, IFN-γ led to an induction of the CNT1- and CNT2-related nucleoside transport activities independent of STAT1, thus ensuring the supply of extracellular nucleosides for the STAT1-independent RNA synthesis. IFN-γ up-regulated CNT2 mRNA and CNT1 protein levels and down-regulated ENT1 mRNA in both wild-type and STAT1 knockout macrophages. This is consistent with a STAT1-independent, long-term-mediated, probably transcription-dependent, regulation of nucleoside transporter genes. Moreover, STAT1-dependent post-transcriptional mechanisms are implicated in the regulation of ENT1 activity. Although nitric oxide is involved in the regulation of ENT1 activity in B-cells at a post-transcriptional level, our results show that STAT1-dependent induction of nitric oxide by IFN-γ is not implicated in the regulation of ENT1 activity in macrophages. Our results indicate that both STAT1-dependent and -independent pathways are involved in the regulation of nucleoside transporters by IFN-γ in macrophages.

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