Alternative splicing of mRNA of mouse interleukin-4 and interleukin-6

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Interleukin-4 and interleukin-6 are multifunctional regulatory proteins, which participate both in haemopoiesis and in immunopoiesis. The alternative splicing of these interleukins in humans is known to proceed in a tissue-specific manner. Additionally, changes in splicing can also be dependent on tissue pathology.In this work, we report on the presence of alternatively spliced mRNA (IL-4δ2mRNA), lacking exon 2, in mouse bone marrow and spleen cells. We find that in unstimulated cells IL-4mRNA levels strongly dominate over IL-4δ2mRNA levels. Both increase in response to stimulation, with the concentration of the alternative variant rising earlier and faster than that of the full-length variant. In all other tissues studied dominance of IL-4δ2mRNA over the full-length variant was not observed.In addition, we find expression of three forms of IL-6 mRNA: the full-length IL-6 mRNA, IL-6Δ3 mRNA, and IL-6Δ5 mRNA in the second and third trimester placenta tissue and in the spleen of mice immunized with a high dose of sheep erythrocytes. It is anticipated that translation of these mRNA variants can generate proteins capable of binding to some subunits of the IL-6 receptor, thus possessing effector function.Alternative splicing is discussed as a source of cytokines with new regulatory properties.

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