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MIC-1, a novel macrophage inhibitory cytokine, is a divergent member of the TGF-beta superfamily.

Authors:
Bootcov MR, Bauskin AR, Valenzuela SM, Moore AG, Bansal M, He XY, Zhang HP, Donnellan M, Mahler S, Pryor K, Walsh BJ, Nicholson RC, Fairlie WD, Por SB, Robbins JM, Breit SN
Affiliation:
Journal:
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Abstract

Macrophages play a key role in both normal and pathological processes involving immune and inflammatory responses, to a large extent through their capacity to secrete a wide range of biologically active molecules. To identify some of these as yet not characterized molecules, we have used a subtraction cloning approach designed to identify genes expressed in association with macrophage activation. One of these genes, designated macrophage inhibitory cytokine 1 (MIC-1), encodes a protein that bears the structural characteristics of a transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) superfamily cytokine. Although it belongs to this superfamily, it has no strong homology to existing families, indicating that it is a divergent member that may represent the first of a new family within this grouping. Expression of MIC-1 mRNA in monocytoid cells is up-regulated by a variety of stimuli associated with activation, including interleukin 1beta, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin 2, and macrophage colony-stimulating factor but not interferon gamma, or lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Its expression is also increased by TGF-beta. Expression of MIC-1 in CHO cells results in the proteolytic cleavage of the propeptide and secretion of a cysteine-rich dimeric protein of Mr 25 kDa. Purified recombinant MIC-1 is able to inhibit lipopolysaccharide -induced macrophage TNF-alpha production, suggesting that MIC-1 acts in macrophages as an autocrine regulatory molecule. Its production in response to secreted proinflammatory cytokines and TGF-beta may serve to limit the later phases of macrophage activation.

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