IL-21 Molecule Synonym Name
Interleukin-21 (IL-21) is a secreted protein which belongs to the IL-15 / IL-21 family. Interleukin-21 / IL-21 belongs to a family of cytokines that bind to a composite receptor consisting of a private receptor (IL21R) and the common cytokine receptor gamma chain (gamma(C)). Interleukin-21 / IL-21 impacts a number of cell types, including CD8+ memory T cells, NK cells and subsets of CD4 memory T cells. The IL-21R is widely distributed on lympho-haematopoietic cells. IL-21 is a pleiotropic cytokine produced by CD4+ T cells in response to antigenic stimulation. Its action generally enhances antigen-specific responses of immune cells. IL-21 promotes the anti-tumor activity of CD8+ T-cells and NK cells. IL-21 exerts its effect through binding to a specific type I cytokine receptor, IL-21R, which also contains the γ chain (γc) found in other cytokine receptors including IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, IL-9 and IL-15. The IL-21/IL-21R interaction triggers a cascade of events which includes activation of the tyrosine kinases JAK1 and JAK3, followed by activation of the transcription factors STAT1 and STAT3.