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EMBO J. 1999 Jan 15;18(2):375-85.

Mutational analyses of the SOCS proteins suggest a dual domain requirement but distinct mechanisms for inhibition of LIF and IL-6 signal transduction.

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  • 1The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and the Cooperative Research Center for Cellular Growth Factors, Parkville, Victoria 3050, Australia.


SOCS-1 (suppressor of cytokine signaling-1) is a representative of a family of negative regulators of cytokine signaling (SOCS-1 to SOCS-7 and CIS) characterized by a highly conserved C-terminal SOCS box preceded by an SH2 domain. This study comprehensively examined the ability of several SOCS family members to negatively regulate the gp130 signaling pathway. SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 inhibited both interleukin-6 (IL-6)- and leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF)-induced macrophage differentiation of murine monocytic leukemic M1 cells and LIF induction of a Stat3-responsive reporter construct in 293T fibroblasts. Deletion of amino acids 51-78 in the N-terminal region of SOCS-1 prevented inhibition of LIF signaling. The SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 N-terminal regions were functionally interchangeable, but this did not extend to other SOCS family members. Mutation of SH2 domains abrogated the ability of both SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 to inhibit LIF signal transduction. Unlike SOCS-1, SOCS-3 was unable to inhibit JAK kinase activity in vitro, suggesting that SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 act on the JAK-STAT pathway in different ways. Thus, although inhibition of signaling by SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 requires both the SH2 and N-terminal domains, their mechanisms of action appear to be biochemically different.

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