While positive effectors of cytokine signaling pathways are relatively well defined, negative regulation can be just as important but is poorly understood. The recently discovered suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) family of proteins has been implicated in the negative regulation of several cytokine pathways, particularly the receptor-associated tyrosine kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (AK/STAT) pathways of transcriptional activation. Biochemical studies revealed that inhibition can occur via a variety of mechanisms. SOCS proteins bind to tyrosine-phosphorylated residues of target proteins via their SH2 domains, then inhibit JAK activity through their N-terminal domains, and are thought to induce degredation of bound molecules through a conserved SOCS-box motif that interacts with the proteasome. SOCS protein expression is induced by a wide variety of cytokines with each member displaying varying kinetics of induction. Gene modification studies in mice have demonstrated that SOCS-1 has a clear role in the negative regulation of interferon-gamma signaling, while other SOCS family members have also been shown to be involved in the regulation of T cell, growth hormone, and erythropoietin signaling systems.