Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) is a glycoprotein that stimulates proliferation and differentiation of progenitor cells of neutrophils by signaling through its receptor (G-CSFR). Although the G- CSFR belongs to the cytokine receptor superfamily, which lacks an intracellular kinase domain, G-CSF-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of cellular proteins is critical for its biologic activities. We report here that JAK1 and JAK2 tyrosine kinases are tyrosine phosphorylated in response to G-CSF induction. We also demonstrate that the DNA-binding protein STAT3 (also called the acute-phase response factor [APRF], activated by interleukin-6) is an early target of G-CSF-induced tyrosine phosphorylation. G-CSF induces two DNA-binding complexes; the major complex contains tyrosine phosphorylated STAT3 protein and the minor complex appears to be a heterodimer of the STAT1 (previously p91, a component of DNA-binding complexes activated by interferons) and STAT3 proteins. Antiphosphotyrosine antibody interferes with the DNA binding activity of activated STAT3, indicating that tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT3 is important for the DNA binding activity. These results identify a signal transduction pathway activated in response to G-CSF and provide a mechanism for the rapid modulation of gene expression by G-CSF.

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