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Sci. STKE, 6 June 2006
Vol. 2006, Issue 338, p. pe26
[DOI: 10.1126/stke.3382006pe26]


Differential Secretion of Cytokines

Redwan Moqbel* and Jason J. Coughlin

Pulmonary Research Group, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Abstract: Eosinophil granules store a vast array of cytokines and chemokines, many of which possess opposing activities. Specific stimuli can induce the release of entire granules or selective mediators through a process termed piecemeal degranulation. Until recently, the mechanisms that governed the decision to opt for either of these processes were unknown. Recent research has identified a mechanism through which differential secretion occurs during piecemeal degranulation. Eotaxin stimulation of eosinophils induces the selective mobilization of the granule-stored alpha chain of the interleukin-4 (IL-4) receptor into secretory vesicles. This process selectively recruits IL-4 to these vesicles and facilitates its differential secretion. There is also recent evidence for a mechanism of differential mobilization and membrane fusion of secretory vesicles versus granules. These two compartments possess a different set of SNARE and Rab molecules as vesicle fusion and transport-docking proteins, respectively. This presumably allows differential regulation of the processes of mobilization and plasma membrane fusion. These findings provide a model to explain the mechanism by which eosinophils, and likely many other cell types, differentially secrete cytokines and chemokines.

*Corresponding author. E-mail, Redwan.moqbel{at}

Citation: R. Moqbel, J. J. Coughlin, Differential Secretion of Cytokines. Sci. STKE 2006, pe26 (2006).

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