IL-18, or IGIF (interferon-gamma inducing factor), is an IL-1-related, pro-inflammatory cytokine, which plays a pivotal role in systemic and local inflammation. We have identified and characterized IL-1H, a novel IL-1-related molecule. IL-1H appears to be expressed in most tissues with relatively high levels in testis, thymus and uterus. The IL-1H transcripts were stimulated by phorbol ester (PMA) in human cell lines (A431, THP-1 and KG-1) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (HPBMC) and dendritic cells (NHDC). The protein sequence of IL-1H is mostly related to IL-1ra with a similarity of 36%. A short form of IL-1H was identified, and lacks a 40-amino acid segment in the amino-terminal region of the protein. When expressed in mammalian cells, two secreted polypeptides of IL-1H were identified: an uncleaved and a cleaved form starting with amino acid Val-46. Furthermore, IL-1H binds the IL-18 receptor, but not the IL-1 receptor. These findings suggest that IL-1H may be another ligand for the IL-18 receptor and a new player in the inflammatory and immune responses mediated by the IL-18/IL-18R axis.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.