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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Mechanism of attenuation of leptin signaling under chronic ligand stimulation

Holger Knobelspies, Julia Zeidler, Paul Hekerman, Simone Bamberg-Lemper and Walter Becker*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Medical Faculty of the RWTH Aachen University, Wendlingweg 2, 52074 Aachen, Germany

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BMC Biochemistry 2010, 11:2  doi:10.1186/1471-2091-11-2

Published: 8 January 2010

Abstract

Background

Leptin is an adipocyte-derived hormone that acts via its hypothalamic receptor (LEPRb) to regulate energy balance. A downstream effect essential for the weight-regulatory action of leptin is the phosphorylation and activation of the latent transcription factor STAT3 by LEPRb-associated Janus kinases (JAKs). Obesity is typically associated with chronically elevated leptin levels and a decreased ability of LEPRb to activate intracellular signal transduction pathways (leptin resistance). Here we have studied the roles of the intracellular tyrosine residues in the negative feedback regulation of LEPRb-signaling under chronic leptin stimulation.

Results

Mutational analysis showed that the presence of either Tyr985 and Tyr1077 in the intracellular domain of LEPRb was sufficient for the attenuation of STAT3 phosphorylation, whereas mutation of both tyrosines rendered LEPRb resistant to feedback regulation. Overexpression and RNA interference-mediated downregulation of suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) revealed that both Tyr985 and Tyr1077 were capable of supporting the negative modulatory effect of SOCS3 in reporter gene assays. In contrast, the inhibitory effect of SOCS1 was enhanced by the presence of Tyr985 but not Tyr1077. Finally, the reduction of the STAT-phosphorylating activity of the LEPRb complex after 2 h of leptin stimulation was not accompanied by the dephosphorylation or degradation of LEPRb or the receptor-associated JAK molecule, but depended on Tyr985 and/or Tyr1077.

Conclusions

Both Tyr985 and Tyr1077 contribute to the negative regulation of LEPRb signaling. The inhibitory effects of SOCS1 and SOCS3 differ in the dependence on the tyrosine residues in the intracellular domain of LEPRb.