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J Immunol. 2005 Jun 15;174(12):7684-91.

Positive and negative regulation of the IL-27 receptor during lymphoid cell activation.

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  • 1Department of Pathobiology, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Previous reports have focused on the ability of IL-27 to promote naive T cell responses but the present study reveals that surface expression of WSX-1, the ligand-specific component of the IL-27R, is low on these cells and that highest levels are found on effector and memory CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. Accordingly, during infection with Toxoplasma gondii, in vivo T cell activation is associated with enhanced expression of WSX-1, and, in vitro, TCR ligation can induce expression of WSX-1 regardless of the polarizing (Th1/Th2) environment present at the time of priming. However, while these data establish that mitogenic stimulation promotes expression of WSX-1 by T cells, activation of NK cells and NKT cells prompts a reduction in WSX-1 levels during acute toxoplasmosis. Together, with the finding that IL-2 can suppress expression of WSX-1 by activated CD4(+) T cells, these studies indicate that surface levels of the IL-27R can be regulated by positive and negative signals associated with lymphoid cell activation. Additionally, since high levels of WSX-1 are evident on resting NK cells, resting NKT cells, effector T cells, regulatory T cells, and memory T cells, the current work demonstrates that IL-27 can influence multiple effector cells of innate and adaptive immunity.

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