CD33-related Siglecs (sialic acid-binding immunoglobulin-like lectins) 5–11 are inhibitory receptors that contain a membrane proximal ITIM (immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif) (I/V/L/)XYXX(L/V), which can recruit SHP-1/2. However, little is known about the regulation of these receptors. SOCS3 (suppressor of cytokine signaling 3) is up-regulated during inflammation and competes with SHP-1/2 for binding to ITIM-like motifs on various cytokine receptors resulting in inhibition of signaling. We show that SOCS3 binds the phosphorylated ITIM of Siglec 7 and targets it for proteasomal-mediated degradation, suggesting that Siglec 7 is a novel SOCS target. Following ligation, the ECS E3 ligase is recruited by SOCS3 to target Siglec 7 for proteasomal degradation, and SOCS3 expression is decreased concomitantly. In addition, we found that SOCS3 expression blocks Siglec 7-mediated inhibition of cytokine-induced proliferation. This is the first time that a SOCS target has been reported to degrade simultaneously with the SOCS protein and that inhibitory receptors have been shown to be degraded in this way. This may be a mechanism by which the inflammatory response is potentiated during infection.
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