Most patients with autosomal dominant hyper-IgE syndrome (AD-HIES) carry rare heterozygous STAT3 variants. Only six of the 135 in-frame variants reported have been experimentally shown to be dominant negative (DN), and it has been recently suggested that eight out-of-frame variants operate by haploinsufficiency. We experimentally tested these 143 variants, 7 novel out-of-frame variants found in HIES patients, and other STAT3 variants from the general population. Strikingly, all 15 out-of-frame variants were DN via their encoded (1) truncated proteins, (2) neoproteins generated from a translation reinitiation codon, and (3) isoforms from alternative transcripts or a combination thereof. Moreover, 128 of the 135 in-frame variants (95%) were also DN. The patients carrying the seven non-DN STAT3 in-frame variants have not been studied for other genetic etiologies. Finally, none of the variants from the general population tested, including an out-of-frame variant, were DN. Overall, our findings show that heterozygous STAT3 variants, whether in or out of frame, underlie AD-HIES through negative dominance rather than haploinsufficiency.

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