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FEBS Lett. 2002 Sep 25;528(1-3):70-6.

Antitumor activity of interleukin-21 prepared by novel refolding procedure from inclusion bodies expressed in Escherichia coli.

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1
Cell Resource Center for Biomedical Research, Institute of Development, Aging, and Cancer, Tohoku University, 4-1 Seiryomachi, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8575, Japan.

Abstract

Interleukin-21 (IL-21) has recently been identified as a novel 4-helix-bundle type I cytokine possessing a cytokine receptor gamma chain essential for the immune response. We report the preparation and functional characterization of Escherichia coli-expressed recombinant human IL-21 (rIL-21). The rIL-21, expressed as insoluble inclusion bodies in E. coli, was solubilized and then refolded by using a modified dialysis method. The introduction of redox reagents during refolding led to a dramatic increase in the refolding efficiency. Circular dichroism spectrum analysis showed that the refolded rIL-21 had an alpha-helix as a secondary structure, which is a characteristic of type I cytokines. Flow cytometry confirmed previous reports that rIL-21 binds to CD3-activated T cells (T-LAK) and to cell lines Raji, HL60, and Jurkat. rIL-21 stimulated the proliferation of T-LAK but not peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and this effect seems to be identical to that of co-stimulation with anti-CD3 antibody. Growth inhibition assay indicated that enhancement of the cytotoxicity of T-LAK to the human bile duct carcinoma TFK-1 depended on the concentration of rIL-21. Thus, refolded rIL-21 had activity identical to that of authentic IL-21 and enhanced the anti-tumor activity of T-LAK. These conclusions suggest the potential use of the refolded cytokine in adoptive immunotherapy using T-LAK cells and in the discovery of other functions of the cytokine.

PMID:
12297282
DOI:
10.1016/s0014-5793(02)03254-4
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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