Activation of STAT Signaling Pathways and Induction of Suppressors of Cytokine Signaling (SOCS) Proteins in Mammalian Lens by Growth Factors
Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
PURPOSE. This study was conducted to examine whether the effects of growth factors are mediated in the lens by Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK/ STAT) pathways and whether they induce expression of suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS), a novel family of feedback regulators of cytokine and growth factor activities. METHODS. STAT activation and SOCS expression were analyzed in transgenic or wild-type mouse lens and lens epithelial cells stimulated with
... timulated with growth factors by immunohistochemistry, RT-PCR, Northern, Western, proliferation, or transient reporter assays. RESULTS. STATs were constitutively expressed at low levels and activated by insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-aa, and FGF-1 or -2 in the lens. The Intensity of STAT signaling increased at high FGF-2 concentration and FGFs act in synergy with IGF-1 or PDGFaa to enhance STAT signaling and SOCS expression. Growth factor-induced proliferation of lens cells is inhibited by AG-490, a specific inhibitor of JAK2/STAT3. CONCLUSIONS. This is the first report that FGFs activate STAT pathways in the lens and that SOCS proteins are constitutively expressed and upregulated by growth factors in this tissue. Physiological relevance of STAT pathways in the lens is underscored by inhibition of lens cell proliferation by inhibitors of JAK/STAT pathways and by the aberrant proliferation of lens epithelium in the posterior pole of transgenic mice with constitutively activated STAT1 in the lens. Common activation of STAT pathways by FGF-1, FGF-2, IGF-1, or PDGFaa and their synergistic activation of STATs and SOCS in lens cells suggest that activities and crosstalk between these factors are sensitive to the steady state levels of activated STATs in the lens and may be under feedback regulation by SOCS family proteins. (Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci.