Suppressor of cytokine signalling-1 (SOCS1), as the name implies, is a protein that functions as a negative regulator of cytokine signalling. Initially characterized for its ability to inhibit JAK phosphorylation and function, SOCS1 also targets proteins for degradation by the proteosome machinery. The expression of SOCS1 can be regulated at the transcription, translation and protein level. Despite the broad spectrum of cytokines that can induce SOCS1 expression and/or be inhibited by SOCS1 in vitro, the use of genetically modified mice has revealed a more specific role for SOCS1 in vivo including a critical role in the regulation of IFNgamma signalling. In addition, SOCS1 has a complex role in T cell activation, and studies have revealed significant roles for SOCS1 in the regulation of IL-4, IL-12 and IL-15 in vivo. Interestingly, SOCS1 action is not limited to the regulation of the classical JAK/STAT-signalling pathway, because SOCS1 also inhibits cytokines like insulin and toll-like receptor signal transduction, neither of which activates the JAK/STAT pathway. Evidence is emerging for a role for aberrant SOCS1 expression in human disease, particularly in a number of malignancies.