Identification and functional characterization of novel phosphotyrosine and phosphoserine residues in the interleukin-2 receptor complex

Hanyin Cheng, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a major T cell growth factor and plays an essential role in the development of normal immune responses. The Janus kinases (Jaks) and Signal transducers and activators of transcription (Stats) are critical for transducing signals from the IL-2 receptors (IL2Rs) to the nucleus to control cell growth and differentiation. In recent years there has been increasing evidence to indicate that the IL-2 activated Jak3/Stat5 pathway provides a new molecular target for immune suppression. Thus, understanding the regulation of this effector cascade has important therapeutic potential. One objective of this work was to identify and define the role and molecular mechanism of novel phosphorylation sites in Jak3. Using functional proteomics, three novel Jak3 phosphorylation sites, Y904, Y939 and S574 were identified. Phosphospecific antibodies confirmed that phosphorylation of Y904 and Y939 were mediated by IL-2 and other IL-2 family cytokines in distinct cell types. Biochemical analysis demonstrated that phosphorylation of both Y904 and Y939 positively regulated Jak3 enzymatic activity, while phosphorylation of S574 did not affect Jak3 in vitro kinase activity. However, a gain-of-function mutation of S574 in Jak3 abrogated IL-2 mediated Stat5 activation, suggesting that phosphorylation of this residue might serve a negative role to attenuate IL-2 signaling. Furthermore, mechanistic analysis suggested that phosphorylation of Y904 in Jak3 affects the KmATP of Jak3, while phosphorylation of Y939 in Jak3 was required to bind one of its substrates, Stat5. The second objective was to determine the role of serine/threonine phosphatases in the regulation of the IL2R complex. Activation of Jak3 and Stat5 by IL-2 is a transient event mediated by phosphorylation. Using a specific PP1/PP2A inhibitor, we observed that inhibition of PP1/PP2A negatively regulated the IL-2 activated Jak3/Stat5 signaling pathway in a human NK cell line (YT) and primary human T cells. More importantly, coimmunoprecipitation assays indicated that inhibition of PP1/PP2A blocked the formation of an active IL2R complex. Pretreatment of cells with the inhibitor also reduced the electrophoretic mobility of the IL2Rβ and IL2Rγ subunits in YT cells, suggesting that inhibition of PP1/PP2A directly or indirectly regulates undefined serine/threonine kinases which phosphorylate these proteins. Based on these observations, a model has emerged that serine/threonine phosphorylation of the IL2Rβ and IL2Rγ subunits causes a conformational change of these proteins, which disrupts IL2R dimerization and association of Jak3 and Stat5 to these receptors.

Subject Area

Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Cheng, Hanyin, "Identification and functional characterization of novel phosphotyrosine and phosphoserine residues in the interleukin-2 receptor complex" (2007). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3287360.