The polymorphisms S503P and Q576R in the interleukin-4 receptor alpha gene are associated with atopy and influence the signal transduction

Immunology. 1999 Mar;96(3):365-71. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2567.1999.00705.x.


Interleukin-4 (IL-4) plays a major role in immunoglobulin E (IgE) production. Its signal is conferred to effector cells through binding to the alpha chain of the IL-4 receptor (IL-4Ralpha). We present further evidence for polymorphisms in the IL-4Ralpha gene having an effect on IgE regulation. For two of four common polymorphisms, S503P and Q576R, we found an association with lowered total IgE concentrations (P=0.0008 if occurring together). The polymorphism S503P has not yet been described and is located within the I4R motif of the receptor. In vitro analyses using synthetic peptides of this region showed that the tyrosine kinase Janus kinase 1 (JAK1), as well as IRS-1 and IRS-2 bind to the I4R motif irrespective of the polymorphism or a tyrosine phosphorylation. In vivo immunoassays using T cells of four different groups of individuals (S503/Q576; P503/Q576; S503/R576; P503/R576) revealed that only in case of both polymorphisms the phosphorylation of IRS-1 and IRS-2, but not JAK1 was increased. We found no binding of STAT6 to the I4R synthetic peptides; however, the phosphorylation was reduced in the presence of any of the two polymorphisms, including P503 alone. We discuss possible conformational changes of the receptor leading to the observed effects on the phosphorylation status of IRS-1, IRS-2 and STAT6, in addition to previous findings that Q576R alters STAT6 binding. We conclude that P503 and R576 influence the signal transduction pathways through the IL-4Ralpha, an effect that is magnified by the presence of both polymorphisms. This could explain the observed association effects with lowered total IgE concentrations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alleles
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / genetics*
  • Hypersensitivity, Immediate / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Linkage Disequilibrium
  • Phosphorylation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-4 / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Signal Transduction / immunology


  • Receptors, Interleukin-4
  • Immunoglobulin E