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J Leukoc Biol. 1998 Jun;63(6):665-8.

The SOCS proteins: a new family of negative regulators of signal transduction.

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The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research and The Cooperative Research Center for Cellular Growth Factors, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


The negative regulation of cytokine signaling, with the exception of the tyrosine phosphatases, is not widely understood. We recently identified a new family of negative regulators by retroviral expression of hematopoietic cDNA library in the monocytic leukemic cell line, M1. This was coupled with selection for cells that were no longer able to differentiate in response to interleukin-6. From this screen, SOCS-1 was cloned and was shown to arrest cytokine signaling by binding to and inhibiting the intrinsic enzymatic activity of the JAK family of protein tyrosine kinases. SOCS-1 expression is induced in response to a range of cytokines and as such is thought to form part of a classic negative feedback loop. The SOCS family of proteins is linked by the presence of a conserved carboxy-terminal domain termed the SOCS box and now encompasses five distinct protein groups on the basis of the structural elements found amino-terminal to the SOCS box: (1) those that contain SH2 domains, (2) those that contain WD-40 repeats, (3) ankyrin repeats, (4) SPRY domains, and (5) GTPase domains. As yet the function of the SOCS box remains unknown, but given the level of conservation within such diverse proteins, it is likely to have a broadly similar role in each.

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