Janus kinases (JAKs) and their downstream STAT proteins play key roles in cytokine signaling, tissue homeostasis, and cancer development. Using a breast cancer model that conditionally lacks Janus kinase 1, we show here that JAK1 is essential for IL-6-class inflammatory cytokine signaling and plays a critical role in metastatic cancer progression. JAK1 is indispensable for the oncogenic activation of STAT1, STAT3, and STAT6 in ERBB2-expressing cancer cells, suggesting that ERBB2 receptor tyrosine kinase complexes do not directly activate these STAT proteins in vivo. A genome-wide gene expression analysis revealed that JAK1 signaling has pleiotropic effects on several pathways associated with cancer progression. We established that FOS and MAP3K8 are targets of JAK1/STAT3 signaling, which promotes tumorsphere formation and cell migration. The results highlight the significance of JAK1 as a rational therapeutic target to block IL-6-class cytokines, which are master regulators of cancer-associated inflammation.
Keywords: Cre recombinase; Janus kinase 1; MAP3K8; RNA sequencing; Stat transcription factor; breast cancer; c-Fos; gene targeting; mammary neoplasms; signal transduction.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.