Pleiotropy of leptin receptor signalling is defined by distinct roles of the intracellular tyrosines

FEBS J. 2005 Jan;272(1):109-19. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2004.04391.x.


The leptin receptor (LEPR) is a class I cytokine receptor signalling via both the janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) and the MAP kinase pathways. In addition, leptin has been shown previously to activate AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) in skeletal muscle. To enable a detailed analysis of leptin signalling in pancreatic beta cells, LEPR point mutants with single or combined exchanges of the three intracellular tyrosines were expressed in HIT-T15 insulinoma cells. Western blots with activation state-specific antibodies recognizing specific signalling molecules revealed that the wild-type receptor activated STAT1, STAT3, STAT5 and ERK1/2 but failed to alter the phosphorylation of AMPK. Each of the three intracellular tyrosine residues in LEPR exhibited different signalling capacities: Tyr985 was necessary and sufficient for leptin-induced activation of ERK1/2; Tyr1077 induced tyrosyl phosphorylation of STAT5; and Tyr1138 was capable of activating STAT1, STAT3 and STAT5. Consistent results were obtained in reporter gene assays with STAT3 or STAT5-responsive promoter constructs, respectively. Furthermore, the sequence motifs surrounding the three tyrosine residues are conserved in LEPR from mammals, birds and in a LEPR-like cytokine receptor from pufferfish. Mutational analysis of the box3 motif around Tyr1138 identified Met1139 and Gln1141 as important determinants that define specificity towards the different STAT factors. These data indicate that all three conserved tyrosines are involved in LEPR function and define the pleiotropy of signal transduction via STAT1/3, STAT5 or ERK kinases. Activation and inhibition of AMPK appears to require additional components of the signalling pathways that are not present in beta cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cricetinae
  • Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Leptin
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Tyrosine / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Leptin
  • Tyrosine

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AAF31355
  • GENBANK/AAR25693
  • GENBANK/P48356