A novel cytokine related to IL-2 and IL-15 was recently identified and designated IL-21 . The receptor for IL-21 (IL-21R, also termed NILR for novel Interleukin receptor) is a new member of the class I cytokine receptor family (1,2). IL-21R forms a complex with the common cytokine receptor g chain, gc, and mediates IL-21 signaling (3,4). Both IL-21R and the gc are necessary for the IL-21 function. IL-21 and its receptor activate JAK-STAT signaling pathway. IL-21R is expressed in spleen, thymus, natural killer (NK), T and B cell lines. IL-21 plays a role in the proliferation and maturation of NK, B and T cell populations.
Cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction
Jak-STAT signaling pathway
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