STAT3 phosphorylation at Ser727 and Tyr705 differentially regulates the EMT-MET switch and cancer metastasis

Oncogene. 2021 Jan;40(4):791-805. doi: 10.1038/s41388-020-01566-8. Epub 2020 Dec 1.


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)/mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) processes are proposed to be a driving force of cancer metastasis. By studying metastasis in bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cell (BM-MSC)-driven lung cancer models, microarray time-series data analysis by systems biology approaches revealed BM-MSC-induced signaling triggers early dissemination of CD133+/CD83+ cancer stem cells (CSCs) from primary sites shortly after STAT3 activation but promotes proliferation towards secondary sites. The switch from migration to proliferation was regulated by BM-MSC-secreted LIF and activated LIFR/p-ERK/pS727-STAT3 signaling to promote early disseminated cancer cells MET and premetastatic niche formation. Then, tumor-tropic BM-MSCs circulated to primary sites and triggered CD151+/CD38+ cells acquiring EMT-associated CSC properties through IL6R/pY705-STAT3 signaling to promote tumor initiation and were also attracted by and migrated towards the premetastatic niche. In summary, STAT3 phosphorylation at tyrosine 705 and serine 727 differentially regulates the EMT-MET switch within the distinct molecular subtypes of CSCs to complete the metastatic process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Receptor alpha Subunit / physiology
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / physiology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells / physiology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Interaction Maps
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6 / physiology
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Serine
  • Tyrosine


  • LIFR protein, human
  • Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Receptors, Interleukin-6
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human
  • Tyrosine
  • Serine