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Eur J Biochem. 2002 Mar;269(5):1490-9.

Functional epitope of common gamma chain for interleukin-4 binding.

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Theodor-Boveri-Institut für Biowissenschaften (Biozentrum), Physiologische Chemie II, Universität Würzburg, Germany.


Interleukin 4 (IL-4) can act on target cells through an IL-4 receptor complex consisting of the IL-4 receptor alpha chain and the common gamma chain (gamma(c)). An IL-4 epitope for gamma(c) binding has previously been identified. In this study, the gamma(c) residues involved in IL-4 binding were defined by alanine-scanning mutational analysis. The epitope comprises gamma(c) residues I100, L102, and Y103 on loop EF1 together with L208 on loop FG2 as the major binding determinants. These predominantly hydrophobic determinants interact with the hydrophobic IL-4 epitope composed of residues I11, N15, and Y124. Double-mutant cycle analysis revealed co-operative interaction between gamma(c) and IL-4 side chains. Several gamma(c) residues involved in IL-4 binding have been previously shown to be mutated in X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency. The importance of these binding residues for gamma(c) function is discussed. These results provide a basis for elucidating the molecular recognition mechanism in the IL-4 receptor system and a paradigm for other gamma(c)-dependent cytokine receptor systems.

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