Background: Impaired signaling in the IFN-γ/IL-12 pathway causes susceptibility to severe disseminated infections with mycobacteria and dimorphic yeasts. Dominant gain-of-function mutations in signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) have been associated with chronic mucocutaneous candidiasis. Objective: We sought to identify the molecular defect in patients with disseminated dimorphic yeast infections. Methods: PBMCs, EBV-transformed B cells, and transfected U3A cell lines were studied for IFN-γ/IL-12 pathway function. STAT1 was sequenced in probands and available relatives. Interferon-induced STAT1 phosphorylation, transcriptional responses, protein-protein interactions, target gene activation, and function were investigated. Results: We identified 5 patients with disseminated Coccidioides immitis or Histoplasma capsulatum with heterozygous missense mutations in the STAT1 coiled-coil or DNA-binding domains. These are dominant gain-of-function mutations causing enhanced STAT1 phosphorylation, delayed dephosphorylation, enhanced DNA binding and transactivation, and enhanced interaction with protein inhibitor of activated STAT1. The mutations caused enhanced IFN-γ-induced gene expression, but we found impaired responses to IFN-γ restimulation. Conclusion: Gain-of-function mutations in STAT1 predispose to invasive, severe, disseminated dimorphic yeast infections, likely through aberrant regulation of IFN-γ-mediated inflammation.

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Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Department of Internal Medicine

Sampaio, E.P, Hsu, A.P, Pechacek, J, Bax, H.I, Dias, D.L, Paulson, M.L, … Holland, S.M. (2013). Signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) gain-of-function mutations and disseminated coccidioidomycosis and histoplasmosis. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 131(6). doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2013.01.052