Autophagy is regulated for IFN-γ-mediated antimicrobial efficacy; however, its molecular effects for IFN-γ signaling are largely unknown. Here, we show that autophagy facilitates IFN-γ-activated Jak2-STAT1. IFN-γ induces autophagy in wild-type but not in autophagy protein 5 (Atg5-/-)-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), and, autophagy-dependently, IFN-γ induces IFN regulatory factor 1 and cellular inflammatory responses. Pharmacologically inhibiting autophagy using 3-methyladenine, a known inhibitor of class III phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, confirms these effects. Either Atg5-/- or Atg7-/- MEFs are, independent of changes in IFN-γ receptor expression, resistant to IFN-γ-activated Jak2-STAT1, which suggests that autophagy is important for IFN-γ signal transduction. Lentivirus-based short hairpin RNA for Atg5 knockdown confirmed the importance of autophagy for IFN-γ-activated STAT1. Without autophagy, reactive oxygen species increase and cause SHP2 (Src homology-2 domain-containing phosphatase 2)-regulated STAT1 inactivation. Inhibiting SHP2 reversed both cellular inflammation and the IFN-γ-induced activation of STAT1 in Atg5-/- MEFs. Our study provides evidence that there is a link between autophagy and both IFN-γ signaling and cellular inflammation and that autophagy, because it inhibits the expression of reactive oxygen species and SHP2, is pivotal for Jak2-STAT1 activation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas