Structural and functional basis for JAK3-deficient severe combined immunodeficiency

Fabio Candotti, Scott A. Oakes, James A. Johnston, Silvia Giliani, Richard F. Schumacher, Patrizia Mella, Maurilia Fiorini, Alberto G. Ugazio, Raffaele Badolato, Luigi D. Notarangelo, Fabio Bozzi, Paolo Macchi, Dario Strina, Paolo Vezzoni, R. Michael Blaese, John J. O'Shea, Anna Villa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mutations of the Janus family kinase JAK3 have been found to be responsible for autosomal recessive severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) in humans. We report here the analysis of four new unrelated patients affected by JAK3-deficient SCID. The genetic defects were heterogeneous and included a large intragenic deletion as well as different point mutations, leading to missense substitutions, early stop codons, or splicing defeats. We performed a series of studies of the biochemical events induced by cytokines on lymphoblastoid B-cell lines obtained from these patients. Abnormalities in tyrosine phosphorylation of JAK3 in response to interleukin-2 (IL-2) and IL- 4 were present in all patients. Accordingly, IL-2-mediated phosphorylation of STAT5 was also absent or barely detectable. On the contrary, in all cases, we could show reduced but clear phosphorylation of STAT6 upon IL-4 stimulation. In one patient carrying a single amino acid change (Glu481Gly) in the JH3 domain of JAK3, we observed partially conserved IL-2 responses resulting in reduced but detectable levels of JAK3 and STATS phosphorylation. Interestingly, the patient bearing this mutation developed a substantial number of circulating CD4+/CD45RO+ activated T lymphocytes that were functionally impaired. In two cases, patients' cells expressed JAK3 proteins with mutations in the JH2 pseudo-kinase domain. A single cysteine to arginine substitution (Cys759Arg) in this region resulted in high basal levels of constitutive JAK3 tyrosine phosphorylation unresponsive to either downregulation by serum starvation or cytokine-mediated upregulation. The characterization of the genetic defects and biochemical abnormalities in these JAK3-deficient patients will help define the role of JAK3 in the ontogeny of a competent immune system and may lead to a better understanding of the JAK3 functional domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3996-4003
Number of pages8
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 15 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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