Kaveh & Nevil’s opinion piece on the role of IL-12p40 as an adaptor for heterodimeric cytokine formation has just been accepted for publication in “Cytokine“.
Making many from few: IL-12p40 as a model for the combinatorial assembly of heterodimeric cytokines
Abstract : How dendritic cells (DCs) gather information from the local milieu at a site of infection or injury and communicate this to influence adaptive immunity is not well understood. We and others have reported that soon after microbial encounter, DCs secrete the p40 subunit of IL-12, by itself, in a monomeric form. Based on recent data that these p40 monomers subsequently associate with p35 released from other cells to generate functional IL-12, we proposed that p40 can function as a DC-derived probe which samples the composition of the local milieu by looking for other binding partners. In this opinion, we discuss how such a sampling function might generate an elaborate combinatorial “code” of heterodimeric cytokines, capable of conveying location-specific information to cells downstream of DC activation, including NK and T cells.