, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp 338-345
Date: 28 Aug 2007

IL-13 receptor isoforms: Breaking through the complexity

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Interleukin (IL)-13 is an immunoregulatory cytokine secreted predominantly by activated T-helper type 2 (Th2) cells, and it has been identified as crucial in developing allergic inflammatory responses. Its diverse functions are mediated by a complex receptor system including IL-4 receptor α (IL-4Rα; CD124) and two other cognate cell surface proteins, IL-13Rα1 (CD213a1) and IL-13Rα2 (CD213a2). IL-13Rα1 forms a heterodimer with IL-4Rα that is a signaling IL-13 receptor. In contrast, IL-13Rα2 has been thought to be a decoy receptor due to its short cytoplasmic tail. IL-13Rα2 exists on the cell membrane, intracellularly, and in soluble form. Recent reports revealed that membrane IL-13Rα2 may have some signaling capabilities, and soluble IL-13Rα2 is a critical endogenous modulator for IL-13 responses. The receptor has more complicated functions than a simple decoy receptor. In this review, we describe the isoforms of IL-13Rα2 and discuss newly revealed functions of IL-13Rα2.