Insights into the evolution of the suppressors of cytokine signalling (SOCS) gene family in vertebrates

Bei Wang, Eakapol Wangkahart, Christopher J. Secombes, Tiehui Wang* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
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The SOCS family are key negative regulators of cytokine and growth factor signalling. Typically 8-17 SOCS genes are present in vertebrate species and eight known in mammals, classified as type I (SOCS4-7) and type II (CISH and SOCS1-3) SOCS. It was believed that the type II SOCS were expanded through the two rounds of whole genome duplication (1R and 2R WGDs) from a single CISH/SOCS1-3 precursor. Previously 12 genes were identified in rainbow trout but here we report additional 15 loci are present, and confirm 26 of the genes are expressed, giving rainbow trout the largest SOCS gene repertoire identified to date. The discovery of the additional SOCS genes in trout has led to a novel model of SOCS family evolution, whereby the vertebrate SOCS gene family was derived from CISH/SOCS2, SOCS1/SOCS3, SOCS4/5, SOCS6 and SOCS7 ancestors likely present before the two round WGD events. It is also apparent that teleost SOCS2b, SOCS4 and SOCS5b molecules are not true orthologues of mammalian SOCS2, SOCS4 and SOCS5, respectively. The rate of SOCS gene structural changes increased from 2R vertebrates, to 4R rainbow trout, and the genes with structural changes show large differences and low correlation coefficient of expression levels relative to their paralogues, suggesting a role of structural changes in expression and functional diversification. This study has important impacts in the functional prediction and understanding of the SOCS gene family in different vertebrates, and provides a framework for determining how many SOCS genes could be expected in a particular vertebrate species/lineage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-411
Number of pages19
JournalMolecular Biology and Evolution
Issue number2
Early online date5 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

Bibliographical note

This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31702386), International Cooperation Science & Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province of China (Grant No. 2017A050501037). E.W. was supported financially by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Thailand and Mahasarakham University. T.W. received funding from the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS), a pooling initiative funded by the Scottish Funding Council (grant reference HR09011).


  • Rainbow trout
  • SOCS gene family
  • synteny
  • phylogenetic tree
  • whole genome duplication
  • evolution
  • gene expression
  • ontogeny
  • cytokine and growth factor signalling
  • (SOCS)-1
  • rainbow trout
  • cytokine and growth factor signaling


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