University of Dundee

Immune cell signalling action of IL-27 uncovered

03 Aug 2022

Our immune system relies on complex signalling between different cells to activate different responses. Now, a collaboration between the labs of Ignacio Moraga and Doryen Bubeck at Imperial have determined how an important component of the immune system – a ‘cytokine’ protein called interleukin 27 (IL-27) – elicits an immune response. 

IL-27 is made up of two different parts called EBI3 and p28. Together, these make up a signal that is recognized by protein receptors to control inflammation during an immune response. The team used a technique called cryo-electron microscopy to reveal in molecular detail the interaction interfaces between IL-17 and its two receptors that control signalling. 

The team say the structure they discovered will provide a blueprint for designing new therapeutic cytokines that can tune the strength of these immune messages.  

Read the full paper EMBO Reports: ‘Structural insights into the assembly and activation of the IL-27 signalling complex’.