The JAK-STAT Pathway

Sci. STKE, 26 August 2003
Vol. 2003, Issue 197, p. cm11
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.197.cm11

The JAK-STAT Pathway

  1. David S. Aaronson and
  2. Curt M. Horvath*
  1. Immunobiology Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029, USA.
  1. *Corresponding author. E-mail, curt.horvath{at}


The Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) pathway transmits information received from extracellular polypeptide signals, through transmembrane receptors, directly to transcription factors that bind target gene promoters in the nucleus. This process provides a mechanism for transcriptional regulation without second messengers. Evolutionarily conserved in eukaryotic organisms from slime molds to humans, JAK-STAT signaling appears to be an early adaptation to facilitate intercellular communication that has coevolved with myriad cellular signaling events. This coevolution has given rise to highly adapted, ligand-specific signaling pathways that control gene expression. In addition, the JAK-STAT signaling pathways are regulated by a vast array of intrinsic and environmental stimuli, which can add plasticity to the response of a cell or tissue. The Connections Map provides a generalized view of this JAK-STAT signaling, with additional Connections Maps highlighting the components that are activated by type I interferons (IFN-α/β), IFN-γ, and interleukins and growth factors that activate STAT3.

Science Viewpoint

D. S. Aaronson, C. M. Horvath, A road map for those who don't know JAK-STAT. Science 296, 1653-1655 (2002).[Abstract] [Full Text]


D. S. Aaronson and C. M. Horvath, The JAK-STAT Pathway. Sci. STKE 2003, cm11 (2003).
Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882