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Mol Med. 2012 Jul 18;18:834-42. doi: 10.2119/molmed.2012.00029.

Different partners, opposite outcomes: a new perspective of the immunobiology of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase.

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Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy.


Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO), a metabolic enzyme that catalyzes tryptophan conversion into kynurenines, is a crucial regulator of immunity. Altered IDO activity is often associated with pathology, including neoplasia and autoimmunity. IDO is highly expressed in dendritic cells (DCs) that exploit the enzyme's activity and the production of tryptophan catabolites to regulate immune responses by acting on several cell types, including T lymphocytes, of which they promote a regulatory phenotype. IDO also contains immunoreceptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motifs (ITIMs) that, once bound by distinct molecular partners, will either promote degradation or initiate signaling activity and self-maintenance of the enzyme. We here discuss how ITIM-dependent molecular events can affect the functional plasticity of IDO by modifying the protein half-life and its enzymic and nonenzymic functions.

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