Purpose of review: Suppressor of cytokine signaling proteins are key regulators of the response of myeloid cells to cytokines and other extracellular stimuli. This review explores recent developments that have shed light on how two of the best-characterized suppressor of cytokine signaling proteins, SOCS1 and SOCS3, attenuate myeloid signaling pathways that lead to inflammation, hematological malignancy, and related disorders.
Recent findings: In addition to its ‘classic’ role as an inhibitor of IFNγ signaling, a number of new regulatory roles in IFNα and toll-like receptor signaling have been defined for SOCS1, and substantial progress has been made in identifying the factors that give rise to lethal inflammation in Socs1−/− neonatal mice. The aberrant transcriptional regulation of suppressor of cytokine signaling genes in myeloid leukemia and related proliferative disorders has also been further defined. Finally, positive signs have emerged in mice that exogenous delivery of SOCS3 may be of therapeutic value.
Summary: Suppressor of cytokine signaling proteins have pivotal roles in attenuating cytokine and toll-like receptor signaling in myeloid cells. Understanding how defective suppressor of cytokine signaling activity contributes to inflammatory and malignant disease promises to create significant new therapeutic opportunities.