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Protein tyrosine phosphatase Meg2 dephosphorylates signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 and suppresses tumor growth in breast cancer

Abstract: Introduction: Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is over-activated or phosphorylated in breast cancers. The hyper-phosphorylation of STAT3 was attributed to either up-regulated phosphorylation by several tyrosine-kinases or down-regulated activity of phosphatases. Although several factors have been identified to phosphorylate STAT3, it remains unclear how STAT3 is dephosphorylated by PTPMeg2. The aim of this study was to determine the role of PTPMeg2 as a phosphatase in regulation of the activity of STAT3 in breast cancers. <br>Methods: Immunoprecipitation assays were used to study the interaction of STAT3 with PTPMeg2. A series of biochemistry experiments were performed to evaluate the role of PTPMeg2 in the dephosphorylation of STAT3. Two breast cancer cell lines MCF7 (PTPMeg2 was depleted as it was endogenously high) and MDA-MB-231 (PTPMeg2 was overexpressed as it was endogenously low) were used to compare the level of phosphorylated STAT3 and the tumor growth ability in vitro and in vivo. Samples from breast carcinoma (n = 73) were subjected to a pair-wise Pearson correlation analysis for the correlation of levels of PTPMeg2 and phosphorylated STAT3. <br>Results: PTPMeg2 directly interacts with STAT3 and mediates its dephosphorylation in the cytoplasm. Overexpression of PTPMeg2 decreased tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT3 while depletion of PTPMeg2 increased its phosphorylation. The decreased tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT3 is coupled with suppression of STAT3 transcriptional activity and reduced tumor growth in vitro and in vivo. Levels of PTPMeg2 and phosphorylated STAT3 were inversely correlated in breast cancer tissues (P = 0.004). <br>Conclusions: PTPMeg2 is an important phosphatase for the dephosphorylation of STAT3 and plays a critical role in breast cancer development.