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Inhibition of protein phosphatase 2A induces serine/threonine phosphorylation, subcellular redistribution, and functional inhibition of STAT3

The National Academy of Sciences
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  • Biology


Signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs) are rapidly phosphorylated on tyrosine residues in response to cytokine and growth factor stimulation of cell surface receptors. STATs hereafter are translocated to the nucleus where they act as transcription factors. Recent reports suggest that serine phosphorylation of STATs also is involved in the regulation of STAT-mediated gene transcription. Here, we studied the role of serine/threonine phosphatases in STAT3 signaling in human antigen-specific CD4+ T cell lines and cutaneous T cell lymphoma lines, expressing a constitutively activated STAT3. We show that an inhibitor of protein phosphatases (PPs) PP1/PP2A, calyculin A, induces (i) phosphorylation of STAT3 on serine and threonine residues, (ii) inhibition of STAT3 tyrosine phosphorylation and DNA binding activity, and (iii) relocation of STAT3 from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Similar results were obtained with other PP2A inhibitors (okadaic acid, endothall thioanhydride) but not with inhibitors of PP1 (tautomycin) or PP2B (cyclosporine A). Pretreatment with the broad serine/threonine kinase inhibitor staurosporine partly blocked the calyculin A-induced STAT3 phosphorylation, whereas inhibitors of serine/threonine kinases, such as mitogen-activated protein kinase-1 extracellular-regulated kinase-kinase, mitogen-activated protein p38 kinase, and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, did not. In conclusion, we provide evidence that PP2A plays a crucial role in the regulation of STAT3 phosphorylation and subcellular distribution in T cells. Moreover, our findings suggest that the level of STAT3 phosphorylation is balanced between a staurosporine-sensitive kinase(s) and PP2A.


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