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J Biol Chem. 2002 Sep 13;277(37):33676-82. Epub 2002 Jun 26.

Interleukin-22 (IL-22) activates the JAK/STAT, ERK, JNK, and p38 MAP kinase pathways in a rat hepatoma cell line. Pathways that are shared with and distinct from IL-10.

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  • 1Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Brussels Branch, Experimental Medicine Unit, Universit√© de Louvain, avenue Hippocrate 74, B-1200 Brussels, Belgium.


IL (interleukin)-22 is an IL-10-related cytokine; its main biological activity known thus far is the induction of acute phase reactants in liver and pancreas. IL-22 signals through a receptor that is composed of two chains from the class II cytokine receptor family: IL-22R (also called ZcytoR11/CRF2-9) and IL-10Rbeta (CRF2-4), which is also involved in IL-10 signaling. In this report, we analyzed the signal transduction pathways activated in response to IL-22 in a rat hepatoma cell line, H4IIE. We found that IL-22 induces activation of JAK1 and Tyk2 but not JAK2, as well as phosphorylation of STAT1, STAT3, and STAT5 on tyrosine residues, extending the similarities between IL-22 and IL-10. However our results unraveled some differences between IL-22 and IL-10 signaling. Using antibodies specific for the phosphorylated form of MEK1/2, ERK1/2, p90RSK, JNK, and p38 kinase, we showed that IL-22 activates the three major MAPK pathways. IL-22 also induced serine phosphorylation of STAT3 on Ser(727). This effect, which is not shared with IL-10, was only marginally affected by MEK1/2 inhibitors, indicating that other pathways might be involved. Finally, by overexpressing a STAT3 S727A mutant, we showed that serine phosphorylation is required to achieve maximum transactivation of a STAT responsive promoter upon IL-22 stimulation.

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