Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 5b (Stat5b) Serine 193 Is a Novel Cytokine-induced Phospho-regulatory Site That Is Constitutively Activated in Primary Hematopoietic Malignancies
Signal transducer and activator of transcription 5b (Stat5b) is a critical node in the signaling network downstream of external (cytokines or growth factors) or internal (oncogenic tyrosine kinases) stimuli. Maximum transcriptional activation of Stat5b requires both tyrosine and serine phosphorylation. Although the mechanisms governing tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of Stat5b have been extensively studied, the role of serine phosphorylation remains to be fully elucidated. Using mass spectrometry and phospho-specific antibodies, we identified Ser-193 as a novel site of cytokine-induced phosphorylation within human Stat5b. Stat5b Ser(P)-193 was detected in activated primary human peripheral blood mononuclear cells or lymphoid cell lines in response to several γ common (γc) cytokines, including interleukin (IL)-2, IL-7, IL-9, and IL-15. Kinetic and spatial analysis indicated that Stat5b Ser-193 phosphorylation was rapid and transient and occurred in the cytoplasmic compartment of the cell prior to Stat5b translocation to the nucleus. Moreover, inducible Stat5b Ser-193 phosphorylation was sensitive to inhibitors of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), whereas inhibition of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) induced phosphorylation of Ser-193. Reconstitution assays in HEK293 cells in conjunction with site-directed mutagenesis, EMSA, and reporter assays indicated that Ser(P)-193 is required for maximal Stat5b transcriptional activity. Indeed, Stat5b Ser-193 was found constitutively phosphorylated in several lymphoid tumor cell lines as well as primary leukemia and lymphoma patient tumor cells. Taken together, IL-2 family cytokines tightly control Stat5b Ser-193 phosphorylation through a rapamycin-sensitive mechanism. Furthermore, constitutive Ser-193 phosphorylation is associated with Stat5b proto-oncogenic activity and therefore may serve as a novel therapeutic target for treating hematopoietic malignancies.