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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Definition of receptor binding sites on human interleukin-11 by molecular modeling-guided mutagenesis.

Interleukin-11 (IL-11) belongs to the interleukin-6 (IL-6)-type subfamily of long-chain helical cytokines including IL-6, ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF), leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), oncostatin M, and cardiotrophin-1, which all share the glycoprotein gp130 as a signal transducing receptor component. IL-11 acts on cells expressing gp130 and the IL-11 receptor (IL-11R) alpha-subunit (IL-11Ralpha). The structural epitopes of IL-11 required for the recruitment of the individual receptor subunits have not yet been defined. Based on the structure of CNTF, a three-dimensional model of human IL-11 was built. Using this model, 10 surface exposed amino acid residues of IL-11 were selected for mutagenesis using analogies to the well-characterized receptor recruitment sites of IL-6, CNTF, and LIF. The respective mutants of human IL-11 were expressed as soluble fusion proteins in bacteria. Their biological activities were determined on HepG2 and Ba/F3-130-11alpha cells. Several mutants with substantially decreased bioactivity and one hyperagonistic mutant were identified and further analyzed with regard to recruitment of IL-11Ralpha and gp130. The low-activity mutant I171D still binds IL-11Ralpha but fails to recruit gp130, whereas the hyperagonistic variant R135E more efficiently engages the IL-11R subunits. The low-activity mutants R190E and L194D failed to bind to IL-11Ralpha. These findings reveal a common mechanism of receptor recruitment in the family of IL-6-type cytokines and offer considerable perspectives for the rational design of IL-11 antagonists and hyperagonists.[1]


  1. Definition of receptor binding sites on human interleukin-11 by molecular modeling-guided mutagenesis. Tacken, I., Dahmen, H., Boisteau, O., Minvielle, S., Jacques, Y., Grötzinger, J., Küster, A., Horsten, U., Blanc, C., Montero-Julian, F.A., Heinrich, P.C., Müller-Newen, G. Eur. J. Biochem. (1999) [Pubmed]
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