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Signal transducer and actuator of transcription (STATs) are a family of transcription factors activated by various cytokines, growth factors and hormones. They are important mediators of immune responses and growth and differentiation of various cell types. The STAT signalling system represents a defined functional module with a pattern of signalling that is conserved from flies to mammals. In order to probe and gain insights into the signalling properties of the STAT module by computational means, we developed a simple non-linear ordinary differential equations model within the 'Virtual Cell' framework. Our results demonstrate that the STAT module can operate as a 'biphasic amplitude filter' with an ability to amplify input signals within a specific intermediate range. We show that dimerisation of phosphorylated STAT is crucial for signal amplification and the amplitude filtering function. We also demonstrate that maximal amplification at intermediate levels of STAT activation is a moderately robust property of STAT module. We propose that these observations can be extrapolated to the analogous SMAD signalling module.

Original publication




Journal article


Syst biol (stevenage)

Publication Date





43 - 52


Cell Physiological Phenomena, Computer Simulation, Models, Biological, STAT Transcription Factors, Signal Transduction, Transcription, Genetic