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Neoplasia. 2012 Jun;14(6):547-58.

A requirement for SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 phosphorylation in Bcr-Abl-induced tumorigenesis.

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CAS Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology and Immunology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.


Suppressors of cytokine signaling 1 and 3 (SOCS-1 and SOCS-3) are inhibitors of the Janus tyrosine kinase (JAK)/signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) pathway and function in a negative feedback loop during cytokine signaling. Abl transformation is associated with constitutive activation of JAK/STAT-dependent signaling. However, the mechanism by which Abl oncoproteins bypass SOCS inhibitory regulation remains poorly defined. Here, we demonstrate that coexpression of Bcr-Abl with SOCS-1 or SOCS-3 results in tyrosine phosphorylation of these SOCS proteins. Interestingly, SOCS-1 is highly tyrosine phosphorylated in one of five primary chronic myelogenous leukemia samples. Bcr-Abl-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation of SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 occurs mainly on Tyr 155 and Tyr 204 residues of SOCS-1 and on Tyr 221 residue of SOCS-3. We observed that phosphorylation of these SOCS proteins was associated with their binding to Bcr-Abl. Bcr-Abl-dependent phosphorylation of SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 diminished their inhibitory effects on the activation of JAK and STAT5 and thereby enhanced JAK/STAT5 signaling. Strikingly, disrupting the tyrosine phosphorylation of SOCS-1 or SOCS-3 impaired the expression of Bcl-X(L) protein and sensitized K562 leukemic cells to undergo apoptosis. Moreover, selective mutation of tyrosine phosphorylation sites of SOCS-1 or SOCS-3 significantly blocked Bcr-Abl-mediated tumorigenesis in nude mice and inhibited Bcr-Abl-mediated murine bone marrow transformation. Together, these results reveal a mechanism of how Bcr-Abl may overcome SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 inhibition to constitutively activate the JAK/STAT-dependent signaling, and suggest that Bcr-Abl may critically requires tyrosine phosphorylation of SOCS-1 and SOCS-3 to mediate tumorigenesis when these SOCS proteins are present in cells.

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