CDK8 as the STAT1 serine 727 kinase?

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Whereas cytokine-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT (signal transducer and activator of transcription) proteins by JAK kinases has been well studied, much less is known about STAT-specific serine kinases and their signal-dependent regulation. The paper by Joanna Bancerek and colleagues published recently in Immunity reports that upon interferon-γ (IFNγ) stimulation of cells the chromatin-associated cyclin-dependent kinase 8 (CDK8) phosphorylates the regulatory serine residue 727 in the transactivation domain of STAT1. The authors state that the CDK8 module of the Mediator complex is a key component in the STAT1 signal pathway, linking serine phosphorylation to gene-specific transcriptional events.

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