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J Exp Med. 1998 Jan 19;187(2):271-5.

Proteolytic cleavage of CD25, the alpha subunit of the human T cell interleukin 2 receptor, by Der p 1, a major mite allergen with cysteine protease activity.

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Division of Molecular and Clinical Immunology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.


Recent reports have indicated that the cysteine protease activity of Der p 1 may play a significant role in its ability to elicit IgE antibody responses, mainly through cleavage of membrane CD23 on B cells and interleukin (IL)-4 synthesis and secretion from mast cells and basophils. Here we demonstrate for the first time that Der p 1 also cleaves the alpha subunit of the IL-2 receptor (IL-2R or CD25) from the surface of human peripheral blood T cells and, as a result, these cells show markedly diminished proliferation and interferon gamma secretion in response to potent stimulation by anti-CD3 antibody. Given that the IL-2R is pivotal for the propagation of Th1 cells, its cleavage by Der p 1 may consequently bias the immune response towards Th2 cells, thereby creating an allergic microenvironment.

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