Ataxia telangiectasia mutated proteins, MAPKs, and RSK2 are involved in the phosphorylation of STAT3

Yiguo Zhang, Yong Yeon Cho, Brandon L. Petersen, Ann M. Bode, Feng Zhu, Zigang Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Phosphorylation at Ser727 is known to be required for complete activation of STAT3 by diverse stimuli including UV irradiation, but the kinase(s) responsible for phosphorylating STAT3 (Ser727) is still not well discerned. In the present study, we observed that activation of ATM is required for a UVA-stimulated increase in Ser727 phosphorylation of STAT3 as well as in activation and phosphorylation of p90 ribosomal protein S6 kinases (RSKs). Moreover, UVA-stimulated activation of upstream kinases, such as c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) and ERKs, involved in mediating phosphorylation of RSKs and STAT3 was defective or delayed in ATM-deficient cells. Furthermore, we provide evidence that RSK2-deficient cells were defective for UV-induced Ser727 phosphorylation of STAT3, and the defect was restored after ectopic expression of transfected full-length RSK2. In vitro experiments showed that active RSK2 and JNK1 induce the phosphorylation of STAT3 precipitates from immunoprecipitation but not from glutathione S-transferase (GST) pull-down. Interestingly, the GST fusion STAT3 proteins mixed together with STAT3 immunoprecipitates can be phosphorylated by JNK. However, the in vitro phosphorylation of STAT3 was reduced by the GST-STAT3 protein, a dominant negative form of STAT3. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the STAT3 phosphorylation at Ser727 is triggered by active RSK2 or JNK1 in the presence of a downstream kinase or a cofactor, and thereby the intracellular phosphorylation process is stimulated through a signaling pathway involving ATM, MAPKs, RSK2, and an as yet unidentified kinase or cofactor. Additionally, RSK2-mediated phosphorylation of STAT3 (Ser727) was further determined to be required for basal and UVA-stimulated STAT3 transcriptional activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12650-12659
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 11 2003

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