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Bioessays. 2006 Apr;28(4):362-77.

The interleukin-15/interleukin-15 receptor system as a model for juxtacrine and reverse signaling.

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Department of Immunology and Cell Biology, Research Center Borstel, Germany.


Interleukin-15 (IL-15) is a pleiotropic cytokine of the 4 alpha-helix bundle family, which binds to a receptor complex that displays common elements with the IL-2 receptor and a unique high-affinity alpha chain. This review focuses on juxtacrine and reverse signaling levels in the IL-15/IL-15R system. Specifically, we discuss how agonistic stimulation of membrane-bound IL-15 induces phosphorylation of members of the MAP kinase family and of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), thereby upregulating processes including cytokine secretion, cell adhesion and migration. In addition, we explore IL-15 trans-presentation and intracellular signaling, and define promising molecular targets for future pharmacological intervention in infectious diseases and immunological disorders. These frontiers in IL-15/IL-15Ralpha research serve as highly instructive examples for key concepts, unsolved problems and therapeutic opportunities in juxtacrine and reverse signaling in general.

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[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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