STATs: An Old Story, Yet Mesmerizing
Signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs) are cytoplasmic transcription factors that have a key role in cell fate. STATs, a protein family comprised of seven members, are proteins which are latent cytoplasmic transcription factors that convey signals from the cell surface to the nucleus through activation by cytokines and growth factors. The signaling pathways have diverse biological functions that include roles in cell differentiation, proliferation, development, apoptosis, and inflammation which place them at the center of a very active area of research. In this review we explain Janus kinase (JAK)/STAT signaling and focus on STAT3, which is transient from cytoplasm to nucleus after phosphorylation. This procedure controls fundamental biological processes by regulating nuclear genes controlling cell proliferation, survival, and development. In some hematopoietic disorders and cancers, overexpression and activation of STAT3 result in high proliferation, suppression of cell differentiation and inhibition of cell maturation. This article focuses on STAT3 and its role in malignancy, in addition to the role of microRNAs (miRNAs) on STAT3 activation in certain cancers.