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

Expression of functional interleukin-21 receptor on adult T-cell leukaemia cells.

Adult T-cell leukaemia (ATL) is caused by human T-cell leukaemia virus type I (HTLV-I). It has been suggested that cytokines play a role in the development and in the neoplastic cell growth of ATL. However, the precise mechanism involved in this process still remains unclear. Interleukin-21 ( IL-21) and its receptor (IL-21R) have been recently described. In this study, we examined the expression of IL-21R and the effect of IL-21 on ATL cells. Real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction showed that HTLV-I-infected cell lines and primary ATL cells expressed IL-21R mRNA. Cell surface expression of IL-21R on these cells was confirmed by flow cytometric analysis using a newly developed monoclonal antibody against human IL-21R. In contrast to the expression of IL-21R, IL-21 mRNA was scarcely detectable in these cells. Notably, IL-21 induced the proliferation of ATL-43T and ED-40515(+) cells, both of which were derived from leukaemic cell clones of ATL. Concerning the intracellular signalling pathways, IL-21 activated the phosphorylation of the signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT)3 and STAT5. Taken together, these findings provide the first evidence that ATL cells express functional IL-21R, suggesting that it may contribute to the pathophysiology of ATL. In addition, the IL-21/IL-21R system may represent a new target for the treatment of ATL.[1]


  1. Expression of functional interleukin-21 receptor on adult T-cell leukaemia cells. Ueda, M., Imada, K., Imura, A., Koga, H., Hishizawa, M., Uchiyama, T. Br. J. Haematol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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