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J Immunol. 2000 Feb 15;164(4):1814-9.

Cloning and characterization of IL-10-related T cell-derived inducible factor (IL-TIF), a novel cytokine structurally related to IL-10 and inducible by IL-9.

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  • 1Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Brussels, Belgium.


IL-9 is a Th2 cytokine active on various cell types such as T and B lymphocytes, mast cells, and eosinophils, and potentially involved in allergy and asthma. To understand better the molecular mechanisms underlying the activity of this cytokine, we used a cDNA subtraction method to identify genes specifically induced by IL-9 in mouse T cells. One of the IL-9-regulated genes isolated by this approach turned out to encode a 180-amino acid long protein, including a potential signal peptide, and showing 22% amino acid identity with IL-10. This protein, designated IL-10-related T cell-derived inducible factor (IL-TIF), is induced by IL-9 in thymic lymphomas, T cells, and mast cells, and by lectins in freshly isolated splenocytes. Experiments concerning the mechanism regulating IL-TIF expression in T cells indicate that IL-9 induction is rapid (within 1 h), does not require protein synthesis, and depends on the activation of the Janus kinase (JAK)-STAT pathway. In vivo, constitutive expression of IL-TIF was detected by RT-PCR in thymus and brain, suggesting that the role of this new factor is not restricted to the immune system. Transfection of HEK293 cells with the IL-TIF cDNA resulted in the production of a glycosylated protein of about 25 kDa that was found to induce STAT activation in mesangial and neuronal cell lines. Further studies will have to address the possibility that some of the IL-9 activities may be mediated by IL-TIF.

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