Acylglycerol kinase augments JAK2/STAT3 signaling in esophageal squamous cells

Xiuting Chen, Zhe Ying, Xi Lin, Huanxin Lin, Jueheng Wu, Mengfeng Li, Libing Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


JAK2 activity is tightly controlled through a self-inhibitory effect via its JAK homology domain 2 (JH2), which restricts the strength and duration of JAK2/STAT3 signaling under physiological conditions. Although multiple mutations within JAK2, which abrogate the function of JH2 and sustain JAK2 activation, are widely observed in hematological malignancies, comparable mutations have not been detected in solid tumors. How solid tumor cells override the autoinhibitory effect of the JH2 domain to maintain constitutive activation of JAK2/STAT3 signaling remains puzzling. Herein, we demonstrate that AGK directly interacted with the JH2 domain to relieve inhibition of JAK2 and activate JAK2/STAT3 signaling. Overexpression of AGK sustained constitutive JAK2/STAT3 activation, consequently promoting the cancer stem cell population and augmenting the tumorigenicity of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) cells both in vivo and in vitro. Furthermore, AGK levels significantly correlated with increased STAT3 phosphorylation, poorer disease-free survival, and shorter overall survival in primary ESCC. More importantly, AGK expression was significantly correlated with JAK2/STAT3 hyperactivation in ESCC, as well as in lung and breast cancer. These findings uncover a mechanism for constitutive activation of JAK2/STAT3 signaling in solid tumors and may represent a prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2576-2589
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 3 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


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