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J Leukoc Biol. 2002 Nov;72(5):856-63.

Interleukin-21 and the IL-21 receptor: novel effectors of NK and T cell responses.

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  • 1Department of Cytokine Biology, ZymoGenetics, Inc., Seattle, Washington 98102, USA.


Interleukin (IL)-21 was recently discovered using a functional cloning approach based on expression of its receptor. It is similar in domain organization and primary sequence to IL-2 and IL-15. Like these cytokines, IL-21 uses the common gamma chain of the IL-2/15 receptor, which forms a heterodimeric receptor complex with IL-21R. IL-21 is produced by activated T cells, and it influences proliferation of T and B cells and cytolytic activity of natural killer cells. The elucidation of the unique biological effects of IL-21 represents an intense area of interest in current cytokine biology.

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