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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 2001 Mar;12(1):19-25.

Specificity in cytokine signal transduction: lessons learned from the IL-3/IL-5/GM-CSF receptor family.

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  • 1Department of Pulmonary Diseases, University Medical Centre Utrecht, G03.550, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584, Utrecht, The Netherlands


Cytokines mediate the transduction of proliferative, differentiation and survival signals in the hematopoietic system. Although the cytokine family is large and diverse, many different cytokines display broadly overlapping functions. This can be explained by the fact that cytokine receptors often share multiple subunits. Specificity in signal transduction can however be achieved through several mechanisms. This review focuses on how signal specificity can be achieved within the IL-3, IL-5 and GM-CSF receptor family. This is discussed in terms of receptor expression, recent advances in our understanding of intracellular signalling components, and analysis of null mutant knock-out mice.

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