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1.  JAK1–STAT1–STAT3, a key pathway promoting proliferation and preventing premature differentiation of myoblasts 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2007;179(1):129-138.
Skeletal muscle stem cell–derived myoblasts are mainly responsible for postnatal muscle growth and injury-induced muscle regeneration. However, the cellular signaling pathways controlling the proliferation and differentiation of myoblasts are not fully understood. We demonstrate that Janus kinase 1 (JAK1) is required for myoblast proliferation and that it also functions as a checkpoint to prevent myoblasts from premature differentiation. Deliberate knockdown of JAK1 in both primary and immortalized myoblasts induces precocious myogenic differentiation with a concomitant reduction in cell proliferation. This is caused, in part, by an accelerated induction of MyoD, myocyte enhancer–binding factor 2 (MEF2), p21Cip1, and p27Kip1, a faster down-regulation of Id1, and an increase in MEF2-dependent gene transcription. Downstream of JAK1, of all the signal transducer and activator of transcriptions (STATs) present in myoblasts, we find that only STAT1 knockdown promotes myogenic differentiation in both primary and immortalized myoblasts. Leukemia inhibitory factor stimulates myoblast proliferation and represses differentiation via JAK1–STAT1–STAT3. Thus, JAK1–STAT1–STAT3 constitutes a signaling pathway that promotes myoblast proliferation and prevents premature myoblast differentiation.
PMCID: PMC2064742  PMID: 17908914
2.  JAK-STAT pathway and myogenic differentiation 
JAK-STAT  2013;2(2):e23282.
Myogenic differentiation plays an important role in muscle regeneration and is regulated by two transcription factor families, MRFs and MEF2, which induce differentiation of myoblasts through expression of the muscle-specific gene, myogenin. In addition, many intracellular signaling pathways are also involved in myogenic differentiation, including p38 MAPK, ERK/MAPK and PI3K/AKT. The JAK-STAT pathway is activated by various cytokines and positively or negatively regulates the differentiation of myoblasts. JAK1 plays a notable role in proliferation; whereas, JAK2 and JAK3 function mainly in differentiation. The STATs, molecules downstream of JAK, regulate myogenesis. With JAK1, STAT1 promotes proliferation, while STAT3 has a dual effect on proliferation and differentiation. The JAK-STAT negative regulator, SOCS, is also associated with myogenesis; although, its role is controversial. In this review, we will discuss the role of the JAK-STAT pathway on myogenic differentiation.
PMCID: PMC3710318  PMID: 24058805
JAK1; JAK2; JAK3; STAT1; STAT2; STAT3; SOCS; myogenic differentiation
3.  Division of labor by dual feedback regulators controls JAK2/STAT5 signaling over broad ligand range 
Quantitative analysis of time-resolved data in primary erythroid progenitor cells reveals that a dual negative transcriptional feedback mechanism underlies the ability of STAT5 to respond to the broad spectrum of physiologically relevant Epo concentrations.
A mathematical dual feedback model of the Epo-induced JAK2/STAT5 signaling pathway was calibrated with extensive time-resolved quantitative data sets from immunoblotting, mass spectrometry and qRT–PCR experiments in primary erythroid progenitor cells.We show that the amount of nuclear phosphorylated STAT5 integrated for 60 min post Epo stimulation directly correlates with the fraction of surviving cells 24 h later.CIS and SOCS3 were identified as the most relevant transcriptional feedback regulators of JAK2/STAT5 signaling in primary erythroid progenitor cells. Applying the model, we revealed that CIS-mediated inhibitory effects are most important at low ligand concentrations, whereas SOCS3 inhibition is more effective at high ligand doses.The distinct modes of inhibition of CIS and SOCS3 at various Epo concentrations provide a strategy for achieving control of JAK2/STAT5 signaling over the entire range of physiological Epo concentrations.
Cells interpret information encoded by extracellular stimuli through the activation of intracellular signaling networks and translate this information into cellular decisions. A prime example for a system that is exposed to extremely variable ligand concentrations is the erythroid lineage. The key regulator Erythropoietin (Epo) facilitates continuous renewal of erythrocytes at low basal levels but also secures compensation in case of, e.g., blood loss through an up to 1000-fold increase in hormone concentration. The Epo receptor (EpoR) is expressed on erythroid progenitor cells at the colony forming unit erythroid (CFU-E) stage. Stimulation of these cells with Epo leads to rapid but transient activation of receptor and JAK2 phosphorylation followed by phosphorylation of the latent transcription factor STAT5. Although STAT5 is known to be an essential regulator of survival and differentiation of erythroid progenitor cells, a quantitative link between the dynamic properties of STAT5 signaling and survival decisions remained unknown. STAT5-mediated responses in CFU-E cells are modulated by multiple attenuation mechanisms that operate on different time scales. Fast-acting mechanisms such as depletion of Epo by rapid receptor turnover and recruitment of the phosphatase SHP-1 control the initial signal amplitude at the receptor level. Transcriptional feedback regulators such as suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) family members CIS and SOCS3 operate at a slower time scale. Despite the ample knowledge of the individual components involved, only little is known about the specific contributions of these regulators in controlling dynamic properties of STAT5 in response to a broad range of input signals. Therefore, dynamic pathway modeling is required to understand the complex regulatory network of feedback regulators.
To address these questions, we established a dual negative feedback model of JAK2/STAT5 signaling in primary erythroid progenitor cells isolated from mouse fetal livers. We provide a large data set of JAK2/STAT5 signaling dynamics employing quantitative immunoblotting, mass spectrometry and quantitative RT–PCR measured under different perturbation conditions to calibrate our model (Figure 3). The structure of our model was constructed to comprise the minimal number of parameters necessary to explain the data. Thereby, we aimed at a model with fully identifiable parameters that are essential to obtain high predictive power. Parameter identifiability was analyzed by the profile likelihood approach. Applying this method, we could establish a dual negative feedback model of JAK2-STAT5 signaling with structurally and in most cases practically identifiable parameters.
A major bottle-neck in combining signal transduction events with cellular phenotypes is the discrepancy in the time scale and stimuli concentrations that are applied in the different experiments. The sensitivity of biochemical assays to determine phosphorylation events within minutes or hours after stimulation is usually lower than the threshold of sensitivity in assays to determine the physiological response after one or more days. Facilitated by the model, we were able to compute the integrated response of JAK2/STAT5 signaling components for experimentally unaddressable Epo concentrations. Our results demonstrate that the integrated response of pSTAT5 in the nucleus accurately correlates with the experimentally determined survival of CFU-E cells. This provides a quantitative link of the dependency of primary CFU-E cells on pSTAT5 activation dynamics. By correlation analysis, we could identify the early signaling phase (⩽1 h) of STAT5 to be the most predictive for the fraction of surviving cells, which was determined ∼24 h later. Thus, we hypothesize that as a general principle in apoptotic decisions, ligand concentrations translated into kinetic-encoded information of early signaling events downstream of receptors can be predictive for survival decisions 24 h later.
After the first hour of stimulation, it is important to constrain signaling to a residual steady-state level. Constitutive phosphorylation of the JAK2/STAT5 pathway has a crucial role in the onset of polycythemia vera (PV), a disease associated with Epo-independent erythroid differentiation. The two identified transcriptional feedback proteins, CIS and SOCS3, are responsible for adjusting the phosphorylation level of STAT5 after 1 h of stimulation. Since the Epo input signal can vary over a broad range of ligand concentrations, we asked how CIS and SOCS3 can facilitate control of STAT5 long-term phosphorylation levels over the entire physiological relevant hormone concentrations. By using model simulations, we revealed that the two feedbacks are most effective at different Epo concentration ranges. Predicted by our mathematical model, the major role of CIS in modulating STAT5 phosphorylation levels is at low, basal Epo concentrations, whereas SOCS3 is essential to control the STAT5 phosphorylation levels at high Epo doses (Figure 6). As a potential molecular mechanism of this dose-dependent inhibitory effect, we could identify the quantity of pJAK2 relative to pEpoR that increases with higher Epo concentrations. Since SOCS3 can inhibit JAK2 directly via its KIR domain to attenuate downstream STAT5 activation, SOCS3 becomes more effective with the relative increase of JAK2 activation. Hence, CIS and SOCS3 act in a concerted manner to ensure tight regulation of STAT5 responses over the broad physiological range of Epo concentrations.
In summary, our mathematical approach provided new insights into the specific function of feedback regulation in STAT5-mediated life or death decisions of primary erythroid cells. We dissected the roles of the transcriptionally induced proteins CIS and SOCS3 that operate as dual feedback with divided function thereby facilitating the control of STAT5 activation levels over the entire range of physiological Epo concentrations. The detailed understanding of the molecular processes and control distribution of Epo-induced JAK/STAT signaling can be further applied to gain insights into alterations promoting malignant hematopoietic diseases.
Cellular signal transduction is governed by multiple feedback mechanisms to elicit robust cellular decisions. The specific contributions of individual feedback regulators, however, remain unclear. Based on extensive time-resolved data sets in primary erythroid progenitor cells, we established a dynamic pathway model to dissect the roles of the two transcriptional negative feedback regulators of the suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) family, CIS and SOCS3, in JAK2/STAT5 signaling. Facilitated by the model, we calculated the STAT5 response for experimentally unobservable Epo concentrations and provide a quantitative link between cell survival and the integrated response of STAT5 in the nucleus. Model predictions show that the two feedbacks CIS and SOCS3 are most effective at different ligand concentration ranges due to their distinct inhibitory mechanisms. This divided function of dual feedback regulation enables control of STAT5 responses for Epo concentrations that can vary 1000-fold in vivo. Our modeling approach reveals dose-dependent feedback control as key property to regulate STAT5-mediated survival decisions over a broad range of ligand concentrations.
PMCID: PMC3159971  PMID: 21772264
apoptosis; erythropoietin; mathematical modeling; negative feedback; SOCS
4.  Interpretation of cytokine signaling through the transcription factors STAT5A and STAT5B 
Genes & development  2008;22(6):711-721.
Transcription factors from the family of Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription (STAT) are activated by numerous cytokines. Two members of this family, STAT5A and STAT5B (collectively called STAT5), have gained prominence in that they are activated by a wide variety of cytokines such as interleukins, erythropoietin, growth hormone, and prolactin. Furthermore, constitutive STAT5 activation is observed in the majority of leukemias and many solid tumors. Inactivation studies in mice as well as human mutations have provided insight into many of STAT5’s functions. Disruption of cytokine signaling through STAT5 results in a variety of cell-specific effects, ranging from a defective immune system and impaired erythropoiesis, the complete absence of mammary development during pregnancy, to aberrant liver function. On a molecular level, STAT5 has been linked to cell specification, proliferation, differentiation, and survival. Evidence is growing that the diverse outcomes of STAT5 signaling are not only determined by the expression of specific receptors but also by the interaction of STAT5 with cofactors and the cell-specific activity of members of the SOCS family, which negatively regulate STAT function. In this review, we focus on emerging concepts and challenges in the field of Janus kinase (JAK)-STAT5 signaling. First, we discuss unique functions of STAT5 in three distinct systems: mammary epithelial cells, hepatocytes, and regulatory T cells. Second, we present an example of how STAT5 can achieve cell specificity in hepatocytes through a physical and functional interaction with the glucocorticoid receptor. Third, we focus on the relevance of STAT5 in the development and progression of leukemia. Next, we discuss lessons derived from human mutations and disease. Finally, we address an emerging issue that the interpretation of experiments from STAT5-deficient mice and cells might be compromised as these cells might reroute and reprogram cytokine signals to the “wrong” STATs and thus acquire inappropriate cues. We propose that mice with mutations in various components of the JAK-STAT signaling pathway are living laboratories, which will provide insight into the versatility of signaling hardware and the adaptability of the software.
PMCID: PMC2394721  PMID: 18347089
Mammary epithelium; hepatocytes; immunoregulation; body; growthcytokine
5.  Tyrosyl phosphorylation and DNA binding activity of signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT) proteins in hematopoietic cell lines transformed by Bcr/Abl 
Bcr/Abl is a chimeric oncogene that can cause both acute and chronic human leukemias. Bcr/Abl-encoded proteins exhibit elevated kinase activity compared to c-Abl, but the mechanisms of transformation are largely unknown. Some of the biological effects of Bcr/Abl overlap with those of hematopoietic cytokines, particularly interleukin 3 (IL-3). Such effects include mitogenesis, enhanced survival, and enhanced basophilic differentiation. Therefore, it has been suggested that p210Bcr/Abl and the IL-3 receptor may activate some common signal transduction pathways. An important pathway for IL-3 signaling involves activation of the Janus family kinases (JAKs) and subsequent tyrosyl phosphorylation of STAT proteins (signal transducers and activators of transcription). This pathway directly links growth factor receptors to gene transcription. We analyzed JAK activation, STAT protein phosphorylation, and the formation of specific DNA-binding complexes containing STAT proteins, in a series of leukemia cell lines transformed by Bcr/Abl or other oncogenes. We also examined these events in cell lines transformed by a temperature sensitive (ts) mutant of Bcr/Abl, where the kinase activity of Abl could be regulated. STAT1 and STAT5 were found to be constitutively phosphorylated in 32D, Ba/F3, and TF-1 cells transformed by Bcr/Abl, but not in the untransformed parental cell lines in the absence of IL-3. Phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT5 was also observed in the human leukemia cell lines K562 and BV173, which express the Bcr/Abl oncogene, but not in several Bcr/Abl- negative leukemia cell lines. Phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT5 was directly due to the tyrosine kinase activity of Bcr/Abl since it could be activated or deactivated by temperature shifting of cells expressing the Bcr/Abl ts mutant. DNA-STAT complexes were detected in all Bcr/Abl- transformed cell lines and they were supershifted by antibodies against STAT1 and STAT5. DNA-STAT complexes in 32Dp210Bcr/Abl cells were similar, but not identical, to those formed after IL-3 stimulation. It is interesting to note that JAK kinases (JAK1, JAK2, JAK3, and Tyk2) were not consistently activated in Bcr/Abl-positive cells. These data suggest that STATs can be activated directly by Bcr/Abl, possibly bypassing JAK family kinase activation. Overall, our results suggest a novel mechanism that could contribute to some of the major biological effects of Bcr/Abl transformation.
PMCID: PMC2192351  PMID: 8642285
6.  Progestins Induce Transcriptional Activation of Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (Stat3) via a Jak- and Src-Dependent Mechanism in Breast Cancer Cells 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(12):4826-4840.
Interactions between steroid hormone receptors and signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat)-mediated signaling pathways have already been described. In the present study, we explored the capacity of progestins to modulate Stat3 transcriptional activation in an experimental model of hormonal carcinogenesis in which the synthetic progestin medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) induced mammary adenocarcinomas in BALB/c mice and in the human breast cancer cell line T47D. We found that C4HD epithelial cells, from the MPA-induced mammary tumor model, expressed Stat3 and that MPA treatment of C4HD cells up-regulated Stat3 protein expression. In addition, MPA induced rapid, nongenomic Stat3, Jak1, and Jak2 tyrosine phosphorylation in C4HD and T47D cells. MPA treatment of C4HD cells also resulted in rapid c-Src tyrosine phosphorylation. These effects were completely abolished by the progestin antagonist RU486. Abrogation of Jak1 and Jak2 activity by transient transfection of C4HD cells with dominant negative (DN) Jak1 or DN Jak2 vectors, or inhibition of Src activity by preincubation of cells with the Src family kinase inhibitor PP2, blocked the capacity of MPA to induce Stat3 phosphorylation. Treatment of C4HD cells with MPA induced Stat3 binding to DNA. In addition, MPA promoted strong Stat3 transcriptional activation in C4HD and T47D cells that was inhibited by RU486 and by blockage of Jak1, Jak2, and Src activities. To investigate the correlation between MPA-induced Stat3 activation and cell growth, C4HD cells were transiently transfected with a DN Stat3 expression vector, Stat3Y705-F, or with a constitutively activated Stat3 mutant, Stat3-C. While expression of Stat3Y705-F mutant had an inhibitory effect on MPA-induced growth of C4HD cells, transfection with the constitutively activated Stat3-C vector resulted in MPA-independent proliferation. Finally, we addressed the effect of targeting Stat3 in in vivo growth of C4HD breast tumors. Blockage of Stat3 activation by transfection of C4HD cells with the DN Stat3Y705-F expression vector significantly inhibited these cells' ability to form tumors in syngeneic mice. Our results have for the first time demonstrated that progestins are able to induce Stat3 transcriptional activation, which is in turn an obligatory requirement for progestin stimulation of both in vitro and in vivo breast cancer growth.
PMCID: PMC1140598  PMID: 15923602
7.  Dual inhibition of Janus and Src family kinases by novel indirubin derivative blocks constitutively-activated Stat3 signaling associated with apoptosis of human pancreatic cancer cells 
Molecular oncology  2012;7(3):369-378.
Constitutively-activated JAK/Stat3 or Src/Stat3 signaling plays a crucial role in tumor cell survival, proliferation, angiogenesis and immune suppression. Activated JAK/Stat3 or Src/Stat3 has been validated as a promising molecular target for cancer therapy. However, prolonged inhibition of Src family kinases (SFKs) leads to reactivation of signal transducer and activator of transcript 3 (Stat3) and tumor cell survival through altered JAK/Stat3 interaction. This compensatory feedback suggests that dual inhibition of Janus kinases (JAKs) and SFKs might be a promising strategy for targeting downstream Stat3 signaling in the clinic. In this study, we identify that the natural product derivative E738 is a novel dual inhibitor of JAKs and SFKs. The IC50 values of E738 against recombinant JAKs and SFKs in vitro are in the ranges of 0.7 nM to 74.1 nM and 10.7 nM to 263.9 nM, respectively. We observed that phosphorylation of both Jak2 and Src was substantially inhibited in the submicromolar range by E738 in cultured human pancreatic tumor cells, followed by blockade of downstream Stat3 activation. E738 down-regulated expression of the Stat3 target proteins Mcl-1 and survivin, associated with induction of apoptosis. Computational models and molecular dynamics simulations of E738/Tyk2 or E738/Src in silico suggest that E738 inhibits both tyrosine kinase 2 (Tyk2) and Src as an ATP-competitive ligand. Moreover, the planar E738 molecule demonstrates a strong binding affinity in the compact ATP-binding site of Tyk2. In sum, E738 is the first dual inhibitor of JAKs and SFKs, followed by inhibition of Stat3 signaling. Thus, according to in vitro experiments, E738 is a promising new therapeutic agent for human pancreatic cancer treatment by blocking both oncogenic pathways simultaneously.
PMCID: PMC3968804  PMID: 23206899
Indirubin derivative (IRD); JAK; SFK; Stat3; Apoptosis
8.  Marburg Virus Evades Interferon Responses by a Mechanism Distinct from Ebola Virus 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(1):e1000721.
Previous studies have demonstrated that Marburg viruses (MARV) and Ebola viruses (EBOV) inhibit interferon (IFN)-α/β signaling but utilize different mechanisms. EBOV inhibits IFN signaling via its VP24 protein which blocks the nuclear accumulation of tyrosine phosphorylated STAT1. In contrast, MARV infection inhibits IFNα/β induced tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT2. MARV infection is now demonstrated to inhibit not only IFNα/β but also IFNγ-induced STAT phosphorylation and to inhibit the IFNα/β and IFNγ-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of upstream Janus (Jak) family kinases. Surprisingly, the MARV matrix protein VP40, not the MARV VP24 protein, has been identified to antagonize Jak and STAT tyrosine phosphorylation, to inhibit IFNα/β or IFNγ-induced gene expression and to inhibit the induction of an antiviral state by IFNα/β. Global loss of STAT and Jak tyrosine phosphorylation in response to both IFNα/β and IFNγ is reminiscent of the phenotype seen in Jak1-null cells. Consistent with this model, MARV infection and MARV VP40 expression also inhibit the Jak1-dependent, IL-6-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT1 and STAT3. Finally, expression of MARV VP40 is able to prevent the tyrosine phosphorylation of Jak1, STAT1, STAT2 or STAT3 which occurs following over-expression of the Jak1 kinase. In contrast, MARV VP40 does not detectably inhibit the tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT2 or Tyk2 when Tyk2 is over-expressed. Mutation of the VP40 late domain, essential for efficient VP40 budding, has no detectable impact on inhibition of IFN signaling. This study shows that MARV inhibits IFN signaling by a mechanism different from that employed by the related EBOV. It identifies a novel function for the MARV VP40 protein and suggests that MARV may globally inhibit Jak1-dependent cytokine signaling.
Author Summary
The closely related members of the filovirus family, Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV), cause severe hemorrhagic disease in humans with high fatality rates. Infected individuals exhibit dysregulated immune responses which appear to result from several factors, including virus-mediated impairment of innate immune responses. Previous studies demonstrated that both MARV and EBOV block the type I interferon-induced Jak-STAT signaling pathway. For EBOV, the viral protein VP24 mediates the inhibitory effects by interfering with the nuclear translocation of activated STAT proteins. Here, we show that MARV uses a distinct mechanism to block IFN signaling pathways. Our data revealed that MARV blocks the phosphorylation of Janus kinases and their target STAT proteins in response to type I and type II interferon and interleukin 6. Surprisingly, the observed inhibition is not achieved by the MARV VP24 protein, but by the matrix protein VP40 which also mediates viral budding. Over-expression studies indicate that MARV VP40 globally antagonizes Jak1-dependent signaling. Further, we show that a MARV VP40 mutant defective for budding retains interferon antagonist function. Our results highlight a basic difference between EBOV and MARV, define a new function for MARV VP40 and reveal new targets for the development of anti-MARV therapies.
PMCID: PMC2799553  PMID: 20084112
9.  Inhibition of protein kinase II (CK2) prevents induced signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 1/3 and constitutive STAT3 activation 
Oncotarget  2014;5(8):2131-2148.
The Janus kinase / signal transducer and activator of transcription (Jak/STAT) pathway can be activated by many different cytokines, among them all members of the Interleukin (IL-)6 family. Dysregulation of this pathway, resulting in its constitutive activation, is associated with chronic inflammation and cancer development. In the present study, we show that activity of protein kinase II (CK2), a ubiquitously expressed serine/threonine kinase, is needed for induced activation of STAT1 and STAT3 by IL-6 classic and trans-signaling, IL-11, IL-27, oncostatin M (OSM), leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1). Inhibition of CK2 efficiently prevented STAT phosphorylation and inhibited cytokine-dependent cell proliferation in a Jak1-dependent manner. Conversely, forced activation of CK2 alone was not sufficient to induce activation of the Jak/STAT signaling pathway. Inhibition of CK2 in turn inhibited Jak1-dependent STAT activation by oncogenic gp130 mutations. Furthermore, CK2 inhibition diminished the Jak1- and Src kinase-dependent phosphorylation of a constitutively active STAT3 mutant recently described in human large granular lymphocytic leukemia. In conclusion, we characterize CK2 as an essential component of the Jak/STAT pathway. Pharmacologic inhibition of this kinase is therefore a promising strategy to treat human inflammatory diseases and malignancies associated with constitutive activation of the Jak/STAT pathway.
PMCID: PMC4039151  PMID: 24742922
STAT3; cytokines; tumor; oncogene; signal transduction
10.  6-Bromoindirubin-3'-oxime inhibits JAK/STAT3 signaling and induces apoptosis of human melanoma cells 
Cancer research  2011;71(11):3972-3979.
Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3) is persistently activated and contributes to malignant progression in various cancers. Janus kinases (JAKs) phosphorylate STAT3 in response to stimulation with cytokines or growth factors. The STAT3 signaling pathway has been validated as a promising target for development of anti-cancer therapeutics. Small-molecule inhibitors of JAK/STAT3 signaling represent potential molecular-targeted cancer therapeutic agents. In this study, we investigated the role of JAK/STAT3 signaling in 6-bromoindirubin-3'-oxime (6BIO) mediated growth inhibition of human melanoma cells and assessed 6BIO as an anticancer drug candidate. We found that 6BIO is a pan-JAK inhibitor that induced apoptosis of human melanoma cells. 6BIO directly inhibited JAK family kinase activity both in vitro and in cancer cells. Apoptosis of human melanoma cells induced by 6BIO was associated with reduced phosphorylation of JAKs and STAT3 in both a dose- and time-dependent manners. Consistent with inhibition of STAT3 signaling, the anti-apoptotic protein Mcl-1 was down-regulated. In contrast to the decreased levels of phosphorylation of JAKs and STAT3, phosphorylation levels of the AKT and MAPK signaling proteins were not inhibited in cells treated with 6BIO. Importantly, 6BIO suppressed tumor growth in vivo with low toxicity in a mouse xenograft model of melanoma. Taken together, these results demonstrate that 6BIO is a novel pan-JAK inhibitor that can selectively inhibit STAT3 signaling and induced tumor cell apoptosis. Our findings support further development of 6BIO as a potential anti-cancer therapeutic agent that targets JAK/STAT3 signaling in tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3107399  PMID: 21610112
bromoindirubin; JAK inhibitor; STAT3 signaling; apoptosis; melanoma
11.  STAT3 signaling controls satellite cell expansion and skeletal muscle repair 
Nature medicine  2014;20(10):1182-1186.
The progression of disease- and age-dependent skeletal muscle wasting results in part from a decline in the number and function of satellite cells, the direct cellular contributors to muscle repair1–10. However, little is known about the molecular effectors underlying satellite cell impairment and depletion. Elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-6 (IL-6), are associated with both age-related and muscle-wasting conditions11–13. The levels of STAT3, a downstream effector of IL-6, are also elevated with muscle wasting14,15, and STAT3 has been implicated in the regulation of self-renewal and stem cell fate in several tissues16–19. Here we show that IL-6–activated Stat3 signaling regulates satellite cell behavior, promoting myogenic lineage progression through myogenic differentiation 1 (Myod1) regulation. Conditional ablation of Stat3 in Pax7-expressing satellite cells resulted in their increased expansion during regeneration, but compromised myogenic differentiation prevented the contribution of these cells to regenerating myofibers. In contrast, transient Stat3 inhibition promoted satellite cell expansion and enhanced tissue repair in both aged and dystrophic muscle. The effects of STAT3 inhibition were conserved in human myoblasts. The results of this study indicate that pharmacological manipulation of STAT3 activity can be used to counteract the functional exhaustion of satellite cells, thereby maintaining the endogenous regenerative response and ameliorating muscle-wasting diseases.
PMCID: PMC4332844  PMID: 25194572
12.  Impaired Alveologenesis and Maintenance of Secretory Mammary Epithelial Cells in Jak2 Conditional Knockout Mice 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(12):5510-5520.
Jak2 is a hormone-receptor-coupled kinase that mediates the tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of signal transducers and activators of transcription (Stat). The biological relevance of Jak2-Stat signaling in hormone-responsive adult tissues is difficult to investigate since Jak2 deficiency leads to embryonic lethality. We generated Jak2 conditional knockout mice to study essential functions of Jak2 during mammary gland development. The mouse mammary tumor virus-Cre-mediated excision of the first coding exon resulted in a Jak2 null mutation that uncouples signaling from the prolactin receptor (PRL-R) to its downstream mediator Stat5 in the presence of normal and supraphysiological levels of PRL. Jak2-deficient females were unable to lactate as a result of impaired alveologenesis. Unlike Stat5a knockouts, multiple gestation cycles could not reverse the Jak2-deficient phenotype, suggesting that neither other components of the PRL-R signaling cascade nor other growth factors and their signal transducers were able to compensate for the loss of Jak2 function to activate Stat5 in vivo. A comparative analysis of Jak2-deficient mammary glands with transplants from Stat5a/b knockouts revealed that Jak2 deficiency also impairs the pregnancy-induced branching morphogenesis. Jak2 conditional mutants therefore resemble PRL-R knockouts more closely, which suggested that Jak2 deficiency might affect additional PRL-R downstream mediators other than Stat5a and Stat5b. To address whether Jak2 is required for the maintenance of PRL-responsive, differentiating alveolar cells, we utilized a transgenic strain that expresses Cre recombinase under regulatory elements of the whey acidic protein gene (Wap). The Wap-Cre-mediated excision of Jak2 resulted in a negative selection of differentiated alveolar cells, suggesting that Jak2 is required not only for the proliferation and differentiation of alveolar cells but also for their maintenance during lactation.
PMCID: PMC419899  PMID: 15169911
13.  The Janus kinases (Jaks) 
Genome Biology  2004;5(12):253.
The Janus kinase (Jak) family, including Jak1, Jak2, Jak3 and Tyrosine kinase 2 (Tyk2), bind cytokine receptors through amino-terminal FERM domains and link them to other molecules, especially members of the signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat) family.
The Janus kinase (Jak) family is one of ten recognized families of non-receptor tyrosine kinases. Mammals have four members of this family, Jak1, Jak2, Jak3 and Tyrosine kinase 2 (Tyk2). Birds, fish and insects also have Jaks. Each protein has a kinase domain and a catalytically inactive pseudo-kinase domain, and they each bind cytokine receptors through amino-terminal FERM (Band-4.1, ezrin, radixin, moesin) domains. Upon binding of cytokines to their receptors, Jaks are activated and phosphorylate the receptors, creating docking sites for signaling molecules, especially members of the signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat) family. Mutations of the Drosophila Jak (Hopscotch) have revealed developmental defects, and constitutive activation of Jaks in flies and humans is associated with leukemia-like syndromes. Through the generation of Jak-deficient cell lines and gene-targeted mice, the essential, nonredundant functions of Jaks in cytokine signaling have been established. Importantly, deficiency of Jak3 is the basis of human autosomal recessive severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID); accordingly, a selective Jak3 inhibitor has been developed, forming a new class of immunosuppressive drugs.
PMCID: PMC545791  PMID: 15575979
14.  Inhibition of Jak1-Dependent Signal Transduction in Airway Epithelial Cells Infected with Adenovirus 
Adenoviral evolution has generated mechanisms to resist host cell defense systems, but the biochemical basis for evasion of multiple antiviral pathways in the airway by adenoviruses is incompletely understood. We hypothesized that adenoviruses modulate airway epithelial responses to type I interferons by altering the levels and activation of specific Janus family kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling components. In this study, specific effects of adenovirus type 5 (AdV) on selected JAK-STAT signal transduction pathways were identified in human tracheobronchial epithelial cells, with focus on type I interferon–dependent signaling and gene expression. We found that wild-type AdV infection inhibited IFN-α–induced expression of antiviral proteins in epithelial cells by blocking phosphorylation of the Stat1 and Stat2 transcription factors that are required for activation of type I interferon–dependent genes. These effects correlated with AdV-induced down-regulation of expression of the receptor-associated tyrosine kinase Jak1 through a decrease in Jak1 mRNA levels. Phosphorylation of Stat3 in response to IL-6 and oncostatin M was also lost in AdV-infected cells, indicating loss of epithelial cell responses to other cytokines that depend on Jak1. In contrast, IL-4– and IL-13–dependent phosphorylation of Stat6 was not affected during AdV infection, indicating that the virus modulates specific signaling pathways, as these Stat6-activating pathways can function independent of Jak1. Taken together, the results indicate that AdV down-regulates host epithelial cell Jak1 to assure inhibition of the antiviral effects of multiple mediators to subvert airway defense responses and establish a productive infection.
PMCID: PMC2219548  PMID: 17641294
JAK-STAT signaling; interferon; interleukin
15.  Beta interferon and oncostatin M activate Raf-1 and mitogen-activated protein kinase through a JAK1-dependent pathway. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1997;17(7):3833-3840.
Activation of early response genes by interferons (IFNs) and other cytokines requires tyrosine phosphorylation of a family of transcription factors termed signal transducers and activators of transcription (Stats). The Janus family of tyrosine kinases (Jak1, Jak2, Jak3, and Tyk2) is required for cytokine-induced tyrosine phosphorylation and dimerization of the Stat proteins. In order for IFNs to stimulate maximal expression of Stat1alpha-regulated genes, phosphorylation of a serine residue in the carboxy terminus by mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is also required. In HeLa cells, both IFN-beta and oncostatin M (OSM) stimulated MAPK and Raf-1 enzyme activity, in addition to Stat1 and Stat3 tyrosine phosphorylation. OSM stimulation of Raf-1 correlated with GTP loading of Ras, whereas IFN-beta activation of Raf-1 was Ras independent. IFN-beta- and OSM-induced Raf-1 activity could be coimmunoprecipitated with either Jak1 or Tyk2. Furthermore, HeLa cells lacking Jak1 displayed no activation of STAT1alpha, STAT3, and Raf-1 by IFN-beta or OSM and also demonstrated no increase in the relative level of GTP-bound p21ras in response to OSM. The requirement for Jak1 for IFN-beta- and OSM-induced activation of Raf-1 was also seen in Jak1-deficient U4A fibrosarcoma cells. Interestingly, basal MAPK, but not Raf-1, activity was constitutively enhanced in Jak1-deficient HeLa cells. Transient expression of Jak1 in both Jak-deficient HeLa cells and U4A cells reconstituted the ability of IFN-beta and OSM to activate Raf-1 and decreased the basal activity of MAPK, while expression of a kinase-inactive form of the protein showed no effect. Moreover, U4A cells selected for stable expression of Jak1, or COS cells transiently expressing Jak1 or Tyk2 but not Jak3, exhibited enhanced Raf-1 activity. Therefore, it appears that Jak1 is required for Raf-1 activation by both IFN-beta and OSM. These results provide evidence for a link between the Jaks and the Raf/MAPK signaling pathways.
PMCID: PMC232235  PMID: 9199317
16.  Mast cell homeostasis and the JAK–STAT pathway 
Genes and immunity  2010;11(8):599-608.
The Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK–STAT) pathway mediates important responses in immune cells. Activation of any of the four JAK family members leads to phosphorylation of one or more of seven STAT family members. Phosphorylation of STAT family members leads to their dimerization and translocation into the nucleus, in which they bind specific DNA sequences to activate gene transcription. Regulation of JAKs and STATs therefore has a significant effect on signal transduction and subsequent cellular responses. Mast cells are important mediators of allergic disease and asthma. These cells have the ability to cause profound inflammation and vasodilation upon the release of preformed mediators, as well as subsequent synthesis of new inflammatory mediators. The regulation of mast cells is therefore of intense interest for the treatment of allergic disease. An important regulator of mast cells, STAT5, is activated downstream of the receptors for immunoglobulin E, interleukin-3 and stem cell factor. STAT5 contributes to mast cell homeostasis, by mediating proliferation, survival, and mediator release. Regulators of the JAK–STAT pathway, such as the suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS) and protein inhibitor of activated STAT (PIAS) proteins, are required to fine tune the immune response and maintain homeostasis. A better understanding of the role and regulation of JAKs and STATs in mast cells is vital for the development of new therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3099592  PMID: 20535135
mast cell; JAK; STAT; allergy; IgE
17.  Stat4, a novel gamma interferon activation site-binding protein expressed in early myeloid differentiation. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1994;14(7):4342-4349.
Interferon regulation of gene expression is dependent on the tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of the DNA-binding activity of two related proteins of 91 kDa (STAT1) and/or 113 kDa (STAT2). Recent studies have suggested that these proteins are substrates of Janus kinases and that proteins related in STAT1 are involved in a number of signalling pathways, including those activated in myeloid cells by erythropoietin and interleukin-3 (IL-3). To clone STAT-related proteins from myeloid cells, degenerate oligonucleotides were used in PCRs to identify novel family members expressed in myeloid cells. This approach allowed the identification and cloning of the Stat4 gene, which is 52% identical to STAT1. Unlike STAT1, Stat4 expression is restricted but includes myeloid cells and spermatogonia. In the erythroid lineage, Stat4 expression is differentially regulated during differentiation. Functionally, Stat4 has the properties of other STAT family genes. In particular, cotransfection of expression constructs for Stat4 and Jak1 and Jak2 results in the tyrosine phosphorylation of Stat4 and the acquisition of the ability to bind to the gamma interferon (IFN-gamma)-activated sequence of the interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1) gene. Stat4 is located on mouse chromosome 1 and is tightly linked to the Stat1 gene, suggesting that the genes arose by gene duplication. Unlike Stat1, neither IFN-alpha nor IFN-gamma activates Stat4. Nor is Stat4 activated in myeloid cells by a number of cytokines, including erythropoietin, IL-3, granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, stem cell factor, colon-stimulating factor 1, hepatocyte growth factor, IL-2, IL-4, and IL-6.
PMCID: PMC358805  PMID: 8007943
18.  Mechanisms of Myogenic Tone of Coronary Arteriole: Role of Down Stream Signaling of the EGFR Tyrosine Kinase 
Microvascular research  2010;81(1):135-142.
Background and purpose
We previously showed that epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase (EGFRtk) is essential in the development of myogenic tone. GRB2-SOS, protein kinase B (Akt), Janus kinase (JAK), and Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3) are activated by stretch. Thus, we hypothesized that GRB2-SOS, Akt, JAK and STAT3 are downstream signaling of the EGFR and play role in myogenic tone.
Experimental approach
Myogenic tone was determined in freshly isolated coronary arterioles from C57/BL6 mice with and without inhibitors. Pressurized coronary arterioles under 25 and 75 mm Hg were subjected to Western blot analysis to determine signaling phosphorylation. Smooth muscle cells (SMC) stimulated with EGF were used to determine the interaction between signaling.
Key results
Coronary arteriole myogenic tone was significantly reduced under EGFRtk, GRB2-SOS, JAK, and STAT3 inhibition (53.6±2 vs. 83.4±1.3; 82.8±1; 83.6±1; 86.1±1 % of passive diameter at 75 mm Hg, p<0.05, respectively). However, Akt inhibition had no effect on coronary arteriole myogenic tone. Western blot analysis showed increased EGFRtk, STAT3, JAK, and Akt phosphorylation at 75mm Hg, which was significantly inhibited under EGFRtk inhibition. Interestingly, immunoprecipitation/Western blot analysis showed two intracellular complexes (ERK1/2-JAK-STAT3) involved in myogenic tone and (Akt-JAK-STAT3) not involved in myogenic tone.
Conclusion and implications
These findings demonstrate that ERK1/2-JAK-STAT3 complex and GRB2-SOS, down stream signaling of the EGFRtk, are critical in the development of myogenic tone, thereby highlighting these signaling events as potential therapeutic targets in cardiovascular disease states associated with altered myogenic tone.
PMCID: PMC3022328  PMID: 21067705
Coronary arterioles; myogenic tone; signaling; EGFR tyrosine kinase; GRB2-SOS; JAK; STAT3; Akt
19.  The JAK-STAT Transcriptional Regulator, STAT-5, Activates the ATM DNA Damage Pathway to Induce HPV 31 Genome Amplification upon Epithelial Differentiation 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(4):e1003295.
High-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) must evade innate immune surveillance to establish persistent infections and to amplify viral genomes upon differentiation. Members of the JAK-STAT family are important regulators of the innate immune response and HPV proteins downregulate expression of STAT-1 to allow for stable maintenance of viral episomes. STAT-5 is another member of this pathway that modulates the inflammatory response and plays an important role in controlling cell cycle progression in response to cytokines and growth factors. Our studies show that HPV E7 activates STAT-5 phosphorylation without altering total protein levels. Inhibition of STAT-5 phosphorylation by the drug pimozide abolishes viral genome amplification and late gene expression in differentiating keratinocytes. In contrast, treatment of undifferentiated cells that stably maintain episomes has no effect on viral replication. Knockdown studies show that the STAT-5β isoform is mainly responsible for this activity and that this is mediated through the ATM DNA damage response. A downstream target of STAT-5, the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) contributes to the effects on members of the ATM pathway. Overall, these findings identify an important new regulatory mechanism by which the innate immune regulator, STAT-5, promotes HPV viral replication through activation of the ATM DNA damage response.
Author Summary
Over 120 types of human papillomavirus (HPV) have been identified, and approximately one-third of these infect epithelial cells of the genital mucosa. A subset of HPV types are the causative agents of cervical and other anogenital cancers. The infectious life cycle of HPV is dependent on differentiation of the host epithelial cell, with viral genome amplification and virion production restricted to differentiated suprabasal cells. While normal keratinocytes exit the cell cycle upon differentiation, HPV-positive suprabasal cells are able to re-enter S-phase to mediate productive replication. HPV induces an ATM-dependent DNA damage response in differentiating cells that is essential for viral genome amplification. Our studies describe an important mechanism by which human papillomaviruses activate a member of the JAK/STAT innate immune signaling pathway to induce the ATM DNA damage pathway. This is necessary for differentiation-dependent productive viral replication. HPVs must suppress the transcription of one member of the JAK/STAT pathway, STAT-1, while at the same time activating STAT-5 to regulate genome amplification in suprabasal cells. The E7 protein activates STAT-5 leading to induction of ATM phosphorylation through the PPARγ pathway. Our study identifies important links between innate immune signaling, the ATM DNA damage pathway and productive HPV replication that may lead to the characterization of new targets for the development of therapeutics to treat HPV-induced infections.
PMCID: PMC3616964  PMID: 23593005
20.  Caspase-dependent proteolytic cleavage of STAT3α in ES cells, in mammary glands undergoing forced involution and in breast cancer cell lines 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:29.
The STAT (Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription) transcription factor family mediates cellular responses to a wide range of cytokines. Activated STATs (particularly STAT3) are found in a range of cancers. Further, STAT3 has anti-apoptotic functions in a range of tumour cell lines. After observing a proteolytic cleavage in STAT3α close to a potential apoptotic caspase protease cleavage site we investigated whether STAT3α might be a caspase substrate.
STAT3α status was investigated in vitro in several cell systems:- HM-1 murine embryonic stem (ES) cells following various interventions; IOUD2 murine ES cells following induction to differentiate along neural or adipocyte lineages; and in a number of breast cancer cell lines. STAT3α status was also analysed in vivo in wild type murine mammary glands undergoing controlled, forced involution.
Immunoblotting for STAT3α in HM-1 ES cell extracts detected amino and carboxy terminal species of approximately 48 kDa and 43 kDa respectively – which could be diminished dose-dependently by cell treatment with the nitric oxide (NO) donor drug sodium nitroprusside (SNP). UV irradiation of HM-1 ES cells triggered the STAT3α cleavage (close to a potential caspase protease cleavage site). Interestingly, the pan-caspase inhibitor z-Val-Ala-DL-Asp-fluoromethylketone (z-VAD-FMK) and the JAK2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor AG490 both inhibited cleavage dose-dependently, and cleavage was significantly lower in a heterozygous JAK2 knockout ES cell clone. STAT3α cleavage also occurred in vivo in normal murine mammary glands undergoing forced involution, coinciding with a pulse of phosphorylation of residue Y705 on full-length STAT3α. Cleavage also occurred during IOUD2 ES cell differentiation (most strikingly along the neural lineage) and in several human breast cancer cell lines, correlating strongly with Y705 phosphorylation.
This study documents a proteolytic cleavage of STAT3α into 48 kDa amino and 43 kDa carboxyl terminal fragments in a range of cell types. STAT3α cleavage occurs close to a potential caspase site, and can be inhibited dose-dependently by SNP, AG490 and z-VAD-FMK. The cleavage seems to be caspase-dependent and requires the phosphorylation of STAT3α at the Y705 residue. This highly regulated STAT3α cleavage may play an important role in modulating STAT3 transcriptional activity.
PMCID: PMC1800902  PMID: 17295906
21.  PKCθ signaling is required for myoblast fusion by regulating the expression of caveolin-3 and β1D integrin upstream focal adhesion kinase 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2011;22(8):1409-1419.
Using both in vivo and in vitro protein kinase C (PKC) θ mutant models, we found that PKCθ, the PKC isoform predominantly expressed in skeletal muscle, is required for myoblast fusion and myofiber growth, by regulating focal adhesion kinase activity and, in turn, the expression of the pro-fusion genes caveolin-3 and β1D-integrin.
Fusion of mononucleated myoblasts to form multinucleated myofibers is an essential phase of skeletal myogenesis, which occurs during muscle development as well as during postnatal life for muscle growth, turnover, and regeneration. Many cell adhesion proteins, including integrins, have been shown to be important for myoblast fusion in vertebrates, and recently focal adhesion kinase (FAK), has been proposed as a key mediator of myoblast fusion. Here we focused on the possible role of PKCθ, the PKC isoform predominantly expressed in skeletal muscle, in myoblast fusion. We found that the expression of PKCθ is strongly up-regulated following freeze injury–induced muscle regeneration, as well as during in vitro differentiation of satellite cells (SCs; the muscle stem cells). Using both PKCθ knockout and muscle-specific PKCθ dominant-negative mutant mouse models, we observed delayed body and muscle fiber growth during the first weeks of postnatal life, when compared with wild-type (WT) mice. We also found that myofiber formation, during muscle regeneration after freeze injury, was markedly impaired in PKCθ mutant mice, as compared with WT. This phenotype was associated with reduced expression of the myogenic differentiation program executor, myogenin, but not with that of the SC marker Pax7. Indeed in vitro differentiation of primary muscle-derived SCs from PKCθ mutants resulted in the formation of thinner myotubes with reduced numbers of myonuclei and reduced fusion rate, when compared with WT cells. These effects were associated to reduced expression of the profusion genes caveolin-3 and β1D integrin and to reduced activation/phosphorylation of their up-stream regulator FAK. Indeed the exogenous expression of a constitutively active mutant form of PKCθ in muscle cells induced FAK phosphorylation. Moreover pharmacologically mediated full inhibition of FAK activity led to similar fusion defects in both WT and PKCθ-null myoblasts. We thus propose that PKCθ signaling regulates myoblast fusion by regulating, at least in part, FAK activity, essential for profusion gene expression.
PMCID: PMC3078083  PMID: 21346196
22.  Cis3/Socs3/Ssi3 Plays a Negative Regulatory Role in Stat3 Activation and Intestinal Inflammation 
Immune and inflammatory systems are controlled by multiple cytokines, including interleukins (ILs) and interferons. These cytokines exert their biological functions through Janus tyrosine kinases and signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) transcription factors. We recently identified two intrinsic Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors, JAK binding protein (JAB; also referred to as suppressor of cytokine signaling [SOCS1]/STAT-induced STAT inhibitor [SSI1]) and cytokine-inducible SH2 protein (CIS)3 (or SOCS3/SSI3), which play an essential role in the negative regulation of cytokine signaling. We have investigated the role of STATs and these JAK inhibitors in intestinal inflammation. Among STAT family members, STAT3 was most strongly tyrosine phosphorylated in human ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease patients as well as in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis in mice. Development of colitis as well as STAT3 activation was significantly reduced in IL-6–deficient mice treated with DSS, suggesting that STAT3 plays an important role in the perpetuation of colitis. CIS3, but not JAB, was highly expressed in the colon of DSS-treated mice as well as several T cell–dependent colitis models. To define the physiological role of CIS3 induction in colitis, we developed a JAB mutant (F59D-JAB) that overcame the inhibitory effect of both JAB and CIS3 and created transgenic mice. DSS induced stronger STAT3 activation and more severe colitis in F59D-JAB transgenic mice than in their wild-type littermates. These data suggest that hyperactivation of STAT3 results in severe colitis and that CIS3 plays a negative regulatory role in intestinal inflammation by downregulating STAT3 activity.
PMCID: PMC2195913  PMID: 11181699
Janus kinase; CIS/SOCS; interleukin 6; ulcerative colitis; negative regulation
23.  A Short Receptor Downregulates JAK/STAT Signalling to Control the Drosophila Cellular Immune Response 
PLoS Biology  2010;8(8):e1000441.
Regulation of JAK/STAT signalling by a short, nonsignalling receptor in Drosophila modulates response to specific immune challenges such as parasitoid infestations.
The posterior signalling centre (PSC), a small group of specialised cells, controls hemocyte (blood cell) homeostasis in the Drosophila larval hematopoietic organ, the lymph gland. This role of the PSC is very reminiscent of the “niche,” the micro-environment of hematopoietic stem cells in vertebrates. We have recently shown that the PSC acts in a non–cell-autonomous manner to maintain janus tyrosine kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK/STAT) signalling in hematopoietic progenitors (prohemocytes), thereby preserving the multipotent character necessary for their differentiation into lamellocytes, a cryptic and dedicated immune cell type required to fight specific immune threats such as wasp parasitism. In this report, on the basis of a knock out generated by homologous recombination, we show that a short type I cytokine-related receptor CG14225/Latran is required for switching off JAK/STAT signalling in prohemocytes. This is a prerequisite to massive differentiation of lamellocytes upon wasp parasitisation. In vivo and cell culture assays indicate that Latran forms heteromers with Domeless, the Drosophila type I cytokine signalling receptor related to mammalian GP130, and antagonises Domeless activity in a dose-dependent manner. Our analysis further shows that a primary immune response to wasp parasitism is a strong decrease in cytokine mRNA levels in the lymph gland, followed by an increase in the latran/domeless ratio. We propose that this sequence of events culminates in the complete inhibition of residual JAK/STAT signalling by Latran. JAK/STAT activity has been associated with several human diseases including leukaemia while knock-out studies in mice point to a central role of this pathway in hematopoiesis and regulation of immune functions. The specific function of Drosophila Latran is, to our knowledge, the first in vivo example of a role for a nonsignalling receptor in controlling a dedicated immune response, and thus raises the question of whether short, nonsignalling receptors also control specific aspects of vertebrate cellular immunity.
Author Summary
A specific microenvironment termed the “niche” supports long term maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells in vertebrates. A small group of specialised cells called the posterior signalling center (PSC) controls hemocyte (blood cell) homeostasis in the Drosophila larval hematopoietic tissue and thus fulfills a similar function to the vertebrate niche. The PSC acts at a distance to maintain JAK/STAT signalling in hematopoietic progenitors (prohemocytes), thereby ensuring their multipotent character. We report here that a short cytokine receptor encoded by CG14225/latran is required to extinguish JAK/STAT signalling in prohemocytes and thereby ensures their mass differentiation into lamellocytes, an immune cell type required to fight specific threats such as wasp parasitism. Domeless, a related receptor in Drosophila, was previously the only known cytokine receptor that signals through the JAK/STAT pathway. We show that Latran lacks the intracellular domains required for signal transduction and acts instead by antagonizing the function of Domeless in a dose-dependent manner. The role of Drosophila Latran in the repression of JAK/STAT signalling under specific immune conditions raises the question of whether short, nonsignalling receptors that antagonize full-length receptors could also control specific aspects of vertebrate immunity.
PMCID: PMC2914635  PMID: 20689801
24.  The JAK/STAT Pathway Is Involved in Synaptic Plasticity 
Neuron  2012;73(2):374-390.
The Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathway is involved in many cellular processes, including cell growth and differentiation, immune functions and cancer. It is activated by various cytokines, growth factors, and protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) and regulates the transcription of many genes. Of the four JAK isoforms and seven STAT isoforms known, JAK2 and STAT3 are highly expressed in the brain where they are present in the postsynaptic density (PSD). Here, we demonstrate a new neuronal function for the JAK/STAT pathway. Using a variety of complementary approaches, we show that the JAK/STAT pathway plays an essential role in the induction of NMDA-receptor dependent long-term depression (NMDAR-LTD) in the hippocampus. Therefore, in addition to established roles in cytokine signaling, the JAK/STAT pathway is involved in synaptic plasticity in the brain.
► Identification of a specific role of the JAK/STAT pathway in synaptic plasticity ► Activation of JAK2 and STAT3 is required for NMDAR-LTD ► Activation of STAT3 in dendrites and nucleus during NMDAR-LTD ► Nuclear translocation of STAT3 is not required for NMDAR-LTD
The authors demonstrate a new neuronal function for the JAK/STAT pathway in the induction of NMDA-receptor-dependent long-term depression (NMDAR-LTD) in the hippocampus.
PMCID: PMC3268861  PMID: 22284190
25.  The LIM/Homeodomain Protein Islet1 Recruits Janus Tyrosine Kinases and Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 and Stimulates Their Activities 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2005;16(4):1569-1583.
Islet1 (Isl1) belongs to the LIM homeodomain transcription factor family. Its roles in differentiation of motor neurons and organogenesis of pancreas and heart have been revealed. However, less is known about its regulatory mechanism and the target genes. In this study, we identified interactions between Isl1 and Janus tyrosine kinase (JAK), as well as signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat)3, but not Stat1 and Stat5, in mammalian cells. We found that Isl1 not only forms a complex with Jak1 and Stat3 but also triggers the tyrosine phosphorylation of Jak1 and its kinase activity, thereby elevating the tyrosine phosphorylation, DNA binding activity, and target gene expression of Stat3. In vivo, the tyrosine-phosphorylated Stat3 was colocalized with Isl1 in the nucleus of the mouse motor neurons in spinal cord after nerve injury. Correspondingly, electroporation of Isl1 and Stat3 into the neural tube of chick embryos resulted in the activation of a reporter gene expression controlled by a Stat3 regulatory sequence, and cotransfection of Isl1 and Stat3 promoted the proliferation of the mouse motor neuron cells. Our data suggest a novel role of Isl1 as an adaptor for Jak1 and Stat3 and reveal a possible functional link between LIM homeodomain transcription factors and the Jak-Stat pathway.
PMCID: PMC1073642  PMID: 15659653

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