In this paper, we report the cloning and characterization of the STAT6 gene from the pufferfish, Tetraodon nigroviridis. The TnSTAT6 gene is composed of 20 exons and 19 introns. The exon-intron organization of this gene is similar to that of HsSTAT6 except for the exons encoding the C-terminal transactivation domain. The full-length complementary (c)DNA of TnSTAT6 encodes a 794-amino acid protein that is 31% identical to human STAT6. We generated a constitutively active TnSTAT6-JH1 by fusing the kinase domain of carp JAK1 to the C-terminal end of TnSTAT6 and demonstrated that the fusion protein has specific DNA-binding ability and can activate a reporter construct carrying multiple copies of mammalian IL-4-response elements. Interestingly, TnSTAT6-JH1 associated with and phosphorylated TnSTAT6 on Tyr661. Mutation of this residue, Y661W, in TnSTAT6 abolished its association with TnSTAT6-JH1. This is consistent with the importance of the corresponding Tyr641 of HsSTAT6 in tyrosine phosphorylation and dimer formation. On the other hand, treatment of mammalian IL-4 did not induce tyrosine phosphorylation of wild-type TnSTAT6, suggesting that both the divergent N-terminal domain and coiled-coiled domain of TnSTAT6 may affect the interaction of TnSTAT6 with mammalian IL-4 receptor complexes.
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