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Chicken interleukin-21 is costimulatory for T cells and blocks maturation of dendritic cells

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    Rights statement: Copyright 2011 Elsevier Ltd

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-482
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


In mammals, interleukin-21 (IL-21) is an immunomodulatory cytokine with pleiotropic effects on the proliferation, differentiation and effector functions of T, B. NK and dendritic cells. A cDNA encoding the chicken orthologue of IL-21 (chIL-21) was cloned by RT-PCR from RNA isolated from activated chicken splenocytes and consists of 438 nucleotides, encoding an open reading frame of 145 amino acids (aa). Chicken IL-21 has 20-30% aa identity to its orthologues in mammals, Xenopus and fish, but is more highly conserved within Ayes (50-80%). The four alpha-helical bundle structure of mammalian IL-21 appears to be conserved in the predicted chicken protein, as are the four cysteine residues required for the formation of two disulphide bridges. A glutamine residue in aa position 129, which has been implicated in the binding of IL-21 to the IL-2 receptor gamma-chain in mammals, is also conserved. ChIL-21 is expressed in most lymphoid tissues, predominantly by CD4+ TCR alpha beta+ T cells. As in mammals, chIL-21 synergistically enhances T-cell proliferation and inhibits maturation of dendritic cells.

    Research areas

  • Chicken, Cytokines , Dendritic cell , IL-21

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