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Int J Mol Sci. 2013 Dec 18;14(12):24656-69. doi: 10.3390/ijms141224656.

Human interleukin 23 receptor induces cell apoptosis in mammalian cells by intrinsic mitochondrial pathway associated with the down-regulation of RAS/mitogen-activated protein kinase and signal transducers and activators of transcription factor 3 signaling pathways.

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Department of Microbiology, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100005, China.


The composition of IL-23R complex is similar to that of the IL-12 receptor (IL-12R) complex with a shared IL-12R-β1 chain. The IL-12R-β1 heterodimerizes with IL-23R and IL-12R-β2 to form IL-23R and IL-12R complexes, respectively. The IL-12R-β2 has been shown to function as a tumor suppressor gene and apoptotic inducer. However, whether IL-23R also functions in cell apoptosis is currently unknown. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time that overexpression of IL-23R markedly induces cell apoptosis in both 293ET and HeLa cells. The activations of caspase 3 and caspase 9 are induced by IL-23R. Mechanistic study reveals that IL-23R markedly inhibits RAS/MAPK and STAT3 but not STAT1 and PI-3K/Akt signaling pathways in both 293ET and HeLa cells. Overexpression of IL-23R significantly up-regulates IL-12Rβ1 expression but not IL-23α and IL-12β expressions in both cell lines. Therefore, our data strongly indicates that IL-23R is able to induce cell apoptosis by activating the intrinsic mitochondrial pathways associated with the inhibition in RAS/MAPK and STAT3 activations in mammalian cells.

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