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Science. 1995 Apr 14;268(5208):251-5.

Cytokine signaling through nonreceptor protein tyrosine kinases.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Japan.


Cytokines are a family of soluble mediators of cell-to-cell communication that includes interleukins, interferons, and colony-stimulating factors. The characteristic features of cytokines lie in their functional redundancy and pleiotropy. Most of the cytokine receptors that constitute distinct superfamilies do not possess intrinsic protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) domains, yet receptor stimulation usually invokes rapid tyrosine phosphorylation of intracellular proteins, including the receptors themselves. It is now clear that these receptors are capable of recruiting or activating (or both) a variety of nonreceptor PTKs to induce downstream signaling pathways. Thus, the intracytoplasmic structure of cytokine receptors has evolved so as to allow the combined action of different PTK family members expressed in different cell types, which may ultimately determine the activity of cytokines.

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