Interleukin-7 receptor signaling network: an integrated systems perspective

Cell Mol Immunol. 2008 Apr;5(2):79-89. doi: 10.1038/cmi.2008.10.


Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is an essential cytokine for the development and homeostatic maintenance of T and B lymphocytes. Binding of IL-7 to its cognate receptor, the IL-7 receptor (IL-7R), activates multiple pathways that regulate lymphocyte survival, glucose uptake, proliferation and differentiation. There has been much interest in understanding how IL-7 receptor signaling is modulated at multiple interconnected network levels. This review examines how the strength of the signal through the IL-7 receptor is modulated in T and B cells, including the use of shared receptor components, signaling crosstalk, shared interaction domains, feedback loops, integrated gene regulation, multimerization and ligand competition. We discuss how these network control mechanisms could integrate to govern the properties of IL-7R signaling in lymphocytes in health and disease. Analysis of IL-7 receptor signaling at a network level in a systematic manner will allow for a comprehensive approach to understanding the impact of multiple signaling pathways on lymphocyte biology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Feedback, Physiological
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / chemistry
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / genetics
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction* / immunology


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7