Untangling the Complex Web of IL-4– and IL-13–Mediated Signaling Pathways

Sci. Signal., 23 December 2008
Vol. 1, Issue 51, p. pe55
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.1.51.pe55

Untangling the Complex Web of IL-4– and IL-13–Mediated Signaling Pathways

  1. Marsha Wills-Karp1,* and
  2. Fred D. Finkelman1,2
  1. 1Division of Immunobiology, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 45229, USA.
  2. 2Department of Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH 45267-0555, USA, and Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45220, USA.
  1. *Corresponding author. E-mail, wildc7{at}cchmc.org


Unraveling the exact signaling events mediating the distinct functions of the T cell–derived cytokines interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-13 has been challenging because they are structurally similar and share a functional signaling receptor chain. A study now proposes a potential molecular mechanism to explain the functional differences between IL-4 and IL-13 that involves the ability of IL-4, but not IL-13, to effectively activate the insulin receptor substrate–2 (IRS-2) signaling cascade through binding to its receptor. A better understanding of the interactions of IL-4 and IL-13 with their cognate receptors may facilitate the development of therapies without unintended side effects.


M. Wills-Karp and F. D. Finkelman, Untangling the Complex Web of IL-4– and IL-13–Mediated Signaling Pathways. Sci. Signal. 1, pe55 (2008).

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