Reactome: A Curated Pathway Database

Interleukin-6 signaling (R-HSA-1059683)

Species Homo sapiens

Summation

Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a pleiotropic cytokine with roles in processes including immune regulation, hematopoiesis, inflammation, oncogenesis, metabolic control and sleep. It is the founding member of a family of IL-6-related cytokines such as IL-11, IL-27 leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), cilliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) and oncostatin M.

The IL-6 receptor (IL6R) consists of an alpha subunit that specifically binds IL-6 and a beta subunit, IL6RB or gp130, which is the signaling component of all the receptors for cytokines related to IL-6. IL6R alpha exists in transmembrane and soluble forms. The transmembrane form is mainly expressed by hepatocytes, neutrophils, monocytes/macrophages, and some lymphocytes. Soluble forms of IL6R (sIL6R) are also expressed by these cells. Two major mechanisms for the production of sIL6R have been proposed. Alternative splicing generates a transcript lacking the transmembrane domain by using splicing donor and acceptor sites that flank the transmembrane domain coding region. This also introduces a frameshift leading to the incorporation of 10 additional amino acids at the C terminus of sIL6R.A second mechanism for the generation of sIL6R is the proteolytic cleavage or 'shedding' of membrane-bound IL-6R. Two proteases ADAM10 and ADAM17 are thought to contribute to this (Briso et al. 2008). sIL6R can bind IL6 and stimulate cells that express gp130 but not IL6R alpha, a process that is termed trans-signaling. This explains why many cells, including hematopoietic progenitor cells, neuronal cells, endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells, and embryonic stem cells, do not respond to IL6 alone, but show a remarkable response to IL6/sIL6R. It is clear that the trans-signaling pathway is responsible for the pro-inflammatory activities of IL-6 whereas the membrane bound receptor governs regenerative and anti-inflammatory IL-6 activities

IL6R signal transduction is mediated by two pathways:the JAK-STAT (Janus family tyrosine kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription) pathway and the Ras-MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) pathway. Negative regulators of IL-6 signaling include SOCS (suppressor of cytokine signals) and SHP2. Within the last few years different antibodies have been developed to inhibit IL-6 activity, and the first such antibodies have been introduced into the clinic for the treatment of inflammatory diseases (Kopf et al. 2010).

Locations in the PathwayBrowser
Additional Information
Compartment plasma membrane
Literature References
pubMedId Title Journal Year
20410258 IL-6: from its discovery to clinical applications Int Immunol 2010