Stat3 oxidation-dependent regulation of gene expression impacts on developmental processes and involves cooperation with Hif-1α
Reactive oxygen species are bona fide intracellular second messengers that influence cell metabolism and aging by mechanisms that are incompletely resolved. Mitochondria generate superoxide that is dis-mutated to hydrogen peroxide, which in turn oxidises cysteine-based enzymes such as phosphatases, peroxiredoxins and redox-sensitive transcription factors to modulate their activity. Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (Stat3) has been shown to participate in an oxidative relay
... peroxiredoxin II but the impact of Stat3 oxidation on target gene expression and its biological consequences remain to be established. Thus, we created murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) that express either WT-Stat3 or a redox-insensitive mutant of Stat3 (Stat3-C3S). The Stat3-C3S cells differed from WT-Stat3 cells in morphology, proliferation and resistance to oxidative stress; in response to cytokine stimulation, they displayed elevated Stat3 tyrosine phosphorylation and Socs3 expression, implying that Stat3-C3S is insensitive to oxidative inhibition. Comparative analysis of global gene expression in WT-Stat3 and Stat3-C3S cells revealed differential expression (DE) of genes both under basal conditions and during oxidative stress. Using differential gene regulation pattern analysis, we identified 199 genes clustered into 10 distinct patterns that were selectively responsive to Stat3 oxidation. GO term analysis identified down-regulated genes to be enriched for tissue/organ development and morphogenesis and up-regulated genes to be enriched for cell-cell adhesion, immune responses and transport related processes. Although most DE gene promoters contain consensus Stat3 inducible elements (SIEs), our chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and ChIP-seq analyses did not detect Stat3 binding at these sites in control or oxidant-stimulated cells, suggesting that oxidised Stat3 regulates these genes indirectly. Our further computational analysis revealed enrichment of hypoxia response elements (HREs) within DE gene promoters, implying a role for Hif-1. Experimental validation revealed that efficient stabilisation of Hif-1α in response to oxidative stress or hypoxia required an oxidation-competent Stat3 and that depletion of Hif-1α suppressed the inducible expression of Kcnb1, a representative DE gene. Our data suggest that Stat3 and Hif-1α cooperate to regulate genes involved in immune functions and developmental processes in response to oxidative stress.