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J Biol Chem. 2006 Jun 9;281(23):15636-44. Epub 2006 Apr 11.

STAT3 as a downstream mediator of Trk signaling and functions.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Biotechnology Research Institute, and Molecular Neuroscience Center, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong, China.


Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) has long been shown to regulate gene transcription in response to cytokines and growth factors. Recent evidence suggests that STAT3 activation may also occur downstream of receptor-tyrosine kinase activation. In the current study we have identified STAT3 as a novel signal transducer for TrkA, the receptor-tyrosine kinase that mediates the functions of nerve growth factor (NGF). Activation of TrkA by NGF triggered STAT3 phosphorylation at Ser-727, and enhanced the DNA binding and transcriptional activities of STAT3. More importantly, neurotrophin-induced increase in STAT3 activation was observed to underlie several downstream functions of neurotrophin signaling. First of all, knockdown of STAT3 expression using the RNA interference approach attenuated NGF-induced transcription of immediate early genes in PC12 cells. Furthermore, reduced STAT3 expression in PC12 cells suppressed NGF-induced cyclin D1 expression, thereby inhibiting growth arrest normally triggered by NGF treatment. Finally, inhibition of STAT3 expression decreased brain-derived neurotrophic factor-promoted neurite outgrowth in primary hippocampal neurons. Together, our findings have identified STAT3 as an essential component of neurotrophin signaling and functions.

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