Thrombin is a multifunctional serine protease and an important fibrotic mediator that induces CCN2 expression. We previously showed that thrombin induces CCN2 expression via an ASK1-dependent JNK/AP-1 pathway in human lung fibroblasts. In this study, we further investigated the roles of c-Src, JAK2, and STAT3 in thrombin-induced CCN2 expression. Thrombin-induced CCN2 expression and CCN2-Luc activity were attenuated by a JAK inhibitor (AG490) and JAK2DN, STAT3DN, and the STAT decoy ODN. Moreover, transfection of cells with a CCN2-mtSTAT-Luc construct inhibited thrombin-induced CCN2-Luc activity. Treatment of cells with thrombin caused JAK2 phosphorylation at Tyr1007/1008 and STAT3 phosphorylation at Tyr705 in time-dependent manners. Thrombin-induced STAT3 phosphorylation was inhibited by AG490 and JAK2DN. Thrombin-induced STAT3 binding to the CCN2 promoter was analyzed by a DNA-binding affinity pull-down assay. In addition, thrombin-induced CCN2 expression and CCN2-Luc activity were inhibited by c-SrcDN and PP2 (an Src inhibitor). Transfection of cells with c-SrcDN also inhibited thrombin-induced JAK2 and STAT3 phosphorylation. Taken together, these results indicate that thrombin might activate c-Src to induce JAK2 activation, which in turn, causes STAT3 activation, and finally induces CCN2 expression in human lung fibroblasts.
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