Suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 (SOCS-3) induces proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) expression in hepatic HepG2 cell line

Massimiliano Ruscica, Chiara Ricci, Chiara Macchi, Paolo Magni, Riccardo Cristofani, Jingwen Liu, Alberto Corsini, Nicola Ferri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins are negative regulators of the JAK/STAT pathway activated by proinflammatory cytokines, including the tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α). SOCS3 is also implicated in hypertriglyceridemia associated to insulin resistance. Proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) levels are frequently found to be positively correlated to insulin resistance and plasma very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglycerides concentrations. The present study aimed to investigate the possible role of TNF-α and JAK/STAT pathway on de novo lipogenesis and PCSK9 expression in HepG2 cells. TNF-α induced both SOCS3 and PCSK9 in a concentration-dependent manner. This effect was inhibited by transfection with siRNA anti-STAT3, suggesting the involvement of the JAK/STAT pathway. Retroviral overexpression of SOCS3 in HepG2 cells (HepG2SOCS3) strongly inhibited STAT3 phosphorylation and induced PCSK9 mRNA and protein, with no effect on its promoter activity and mRNA stability. Consistently, siRNA anti-SOCS3 reduced PCSK9 mRNA levels, whereas an opposite effect was observed with siRNA anti- STAT3. In addition, HepG2SOCS3 express higher mRNA levels of key enzymes involved in the de novo lipogenesis, such as fattyacid synthase, stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD)-1, and apoB. These responses were associated with a significant increase of SCD-1 protein, activation of sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1), accumulation of cellular triglycerides, and secretion of apoB. HepG2SOCS3 show lower phosphorylation levels of insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1) Tyr896 and Akt Ser473 in response to insulin. Finally, insulin stimulation produced an additive effect with SOCS3 overexpression, further inducing PCSK9, SREBP-1, fatty acid synthase, and apoB mRNA. In conclusion, our data candidate PCSK9 as a gene involved in lipid metabolism regulated by proinflammatory cytokine TNF- in a SOCS3-dependent manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3508-3519
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Feb 12 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 (SOCS-3) induces proprotein convertase subtilisin kexin type 9 (PCSK9) expression in hepatic HepG2 cell line'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this