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

Science Signaling  23 Dec 2008:
Vol. 1, Issue 51, pp. pe55
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.1.51.pe55

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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.

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