Activation of Fibroblast-like Synoviocytes in Regulates Migration, Invasion, and Protein Inhibitor of Activated STAT3 Rheumatoid Arthritis

The aggressive phenotype displayed by fibroblast-like synoviocytes (FLSs) is a critical factor of cartilage destruction in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Increased FLSs migration and subsequent degradation of the extracellular matrix are essential to the pathology of RA. Protein inhibitor of activated STAT (PIAS), whose family members include PIAS1, PIAS2 (PIASx), PIAS3, and PIAS4 (PIASy), play important roles in regulating various cellular events, such as cell survival, migration, and signal transduction in many cell types. However, whether PIAS proteins have a role in the pathogenesis of RA is unclear. In this study, we evaluated the role of PIAS proteins in FLSs migration, invasion, and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) expression in RA. We observed increased expression of PIAS3, but not PIAS1, PIAS2, or PIAS4, in FLSs and synovial tissues from patients with RA. We found that PIAS3 knockdown by short hairpin RNA reduced migration, invasion, and MMP-3, MMP-9, and MMP-13 expression in FLSs. In addition, we demonstrated that PIAS3 regulated lamellipodium formation during cell migration. To gain insight into molecular mechanisms, we evaluated the effect of PIAS3 knockdown on Rac1/PAK1 and JNK activation. Our results indicated that PIAS3-mediated SUMOylation of Rac1 controlled its activation and modulated the Rac1 downstream activity of PAK1 and JNK. Furthermore, inhibition of Rac1, PAK1, or JNK decreased migration and invasion of RA FLSs. Thus, our observations suggest that PIAS3 suppression may be protective against joint destruction in RA by regulating synoviocyte migration, invasion, and activation