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Trends Immunol. 2001 Jun;22(6):328-36.

Decoy receptors: a strategy to regulate inflammatory cytokines and chemokines.

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  • 1Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Via Eritrea 62, 20157, Milan, Italy.


The canonical concept of a receptor includes specific ligand recognition, usually with high affinity and specificity, and signaling. Decoy receptors recognize certain inflammatory cytokines with high affinity and specificity, but are structurally incapable of signaling or presenting the agonist to signaling receptor complexes. They act as a molecular trap for the agonist and for signaling receptor components. The interleukin-1 type II receptor (IL-1RII) was the first pure decoy to be identified. Decoy receptors have subsequently been identified for members of the tumor necrosis factor receptor and IL-1R families. Moreover, silent nonsignaling receptors could act as decoys for chemokines. Therefore, the use of decoy receptors is a general strategy to regulate the action of primary pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines.

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