Interleukin-21 (IL-21) is a pleiotropic cytokine that regulates T-cell, B-cell, NK-cell, and myeloid-cell functions. IL-21 binds with its cognate receptor complex, which consists of the IL-21 receptor (IL-21R) and the common gamma chain (gammac) receptor subunit. We identified novel IL-21R-binding molecule, WD-40 repeats containing SOCS-box-2, WSB-2. WSB-2 associated with the membrane-proximal intracytoplasmic region of IL-21R, including box1 and box2. Overexpression study of WSB-2 showed the reduction of IL-21R expression and IL-21-induced signal transduction. On the other hand, small interfering RNA for WSB-2 enhanced the expression level of IL-21R and IL-21-induced STAT3 activation, indicating that WSB-2 negatively controls the receptor expression. This report provides the first evidence that WSB-2 is a regulator of IL-21R expression and IL-21-induced signal transduction.
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