Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) is a key mediator of intestinal inflammation and tumorigenesis. However, the molecular mechanism that modulates STAT3 phosphorylation and activation is not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that modification of STAT3 with O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) on threonine 717 (T717) negatively regulates its phosphorylation and targets gene expression in macrophages. We further found that cullin 3 (CUL3), a cullin family E3 ubiquitin ligase, down-regulates the expression of the O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) and inhibits STAT3 O-GlcNAcylation. The inhibitory effect of CUL3 on OGT expression is dependent on nuclear factor E2–related factor-2 (Nrf2), which binds to the Ogt promoter region and increases gene transcription. Myeloid deletion of Cul3 led to defective STAT3 phosphorylation in colon macrophages, which was accompanied by exacerbated colonic inflammation and inflammation-driven tumorigenesis. Thus, this study identifies a new form of posttranslational modification of STAT3, modulating its phosphorylation, and suggests the importance of immunometabolism on colonic inflammation and tumorigenesis.
- Submitted: 14 July 2016
- Revision received 23 November 2016
- Accepted: 13 January 2017
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