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Molecular cloning and characterization of the STAT gene in Hyphantria cunea haemocytes


  • The first two authors contributed equally to this work.

Sook Jae Seo, Division of Applied Life Science, College of Natural Sciences, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju 660-701, Korea. Tel.: + 82 55 751 5951; fax: + 82 55 754 0086; e-mail:


A new insect member of the signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) family of transcription factors, Hyphantria cunea STAT (HcSTAT), was cloned from the lepidopteran H. cunea. The domain involved in DNA interaction and the Src homology 2 (SH2) domain were well conserved. During all developmental stages, the gene was expressed at a low level in the haemocytes, fat body cells, midgut, epidermis and Malpighian tubules. The haemocytes and Malpighian tubules showed transcriptional activation of HcSTAT upon Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacterial challenges. These challenges increased the induction and nuclear translocation of the HcSTAT protein that recognizes a STAT target site in H. cunea haemocytes. In vivo treatment with sodium orthovanadate translocated HcSTAT to the haemocyte nucleus. This study shows the involvement of the haemocyte Janus kinase/STAT pathway after microbial infection in lepidopteran insects.