Open Access Open Badges Research article

SOCS3 inhibiting migration of A549 cells correlates with PYK2 signaling in vitro

Siyang Zhang1, Dawei Guo3, Lili Jiang1, Qingfu Zhang12, Xueshan Qiu12* and Enhua Wang12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pathology, College of Basic Medical Sciences, China Medical University, Shenyang, PR China

2 Department of Pathology, the First Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, PR China

3 Department of Surgery, the Fourth Affiliated Hospital of China Medical University, Shenyang, PR China

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BMC Cancer 2008, 8:150  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-8-150

Published: 28 May 2008



Suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) is considered to inhibit cytokine responses and play a negative role in migration of various cells. Proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 (PYK2) is a non-receptor kinase and has been found crucial to cell motility. However, little is known about whether SOCS3 could regulate PYK2 pro-migratory function in lung cancer.


The methylation status of SOCS3 was investigated in HBE and A549 cell lines by methylation-specific PCR. A549 cells were either treated with a demethylation agent 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine or transfected with three SOCS3 mutants with various functional domains deleted. Besides, cells were pretreated with a proteasome inhibitor β-lactacystin where indicated. The effects of SOCS3 up-regulation on PYK2 expression, PYK2 and ERK1/2 phosphorylations were assessed by western blot using indicated antibodies. RT-PCR was used to estimate PYK2 mRNA levels. Transwell experiments were performed to evaluate cell migration.


SOCS3 expression was found impaired in A549 cells and higher PYK2 activity was correlated with enhanced cell migration. We identified that SOCS3 was aberrantly methylated in the exon 2, and 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine restored SOCS3 expression. Reactivation of SOCS3 attenuated PYK2 expression and phosphorylation, cell migration was inhibited as well. Transfection studies indicated that exogenous SOCS3 interacted with PYK2, and both the Src homology 2 (SH2) and the kinase inhibitory region (KIR) domains of SOCS3 contributed to PYK2 binding. Furthermore, SOCS3 was found to inhibit PYK2-associated ERK1/2 activity in A549 cells. SOCS3 possibly promoted degradation of PYK2 in a SOCS-box-dependent manner and interfered with PYK2-related signaling events, such as cell migration.


These data indicate that SOCS3 negatively regulates cell motility and decreased SOCS3 induced by methylation may confer a migration advantage to A549 cells. These results also suggest a negative role of SOCS3 in PYK2 signaling, and a previously unidentified regulatory mechanism for PYK2 function.