Trans-signaling of the major pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines Interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-11 has the unique feature to virtually activate all cells of the body and is critically involved in chronic inflammation and regeneration. Hyper-IL-6 and Hyper-IL-11 are single chain designer trans-signaling cytokines, in which the cytokine and soluble receptor units are trapped in one complex via a flexible peptide linker. Albeit, Hyper-cytokines are essential tools to study trans-signaling in vitro and in vivo, the superior potency of these designer cytokines are accompanied by undesirable stress responses. To enable tailor-made generation of Hyper-cytokines, we developed inactive split-cytokine-precursors adapted for posttranslational reassembly by split-intein mediated protein trans-splicing (PTS). We identified cutting sites within IL-6 (E134/S135) and IL-11 (G116/S117) and obtained inactive split-Hyper-IL-6 and split-Hyper-IL-11 cytokine precursors. After fusion with split-inteins, PTS resulted in reconstitution of active Hyper-cytokines, which were efficiently secreted from transfected cells. Our strategy comprises the development of a background-free cytokine signaling system from reversibly inactivated precursor cytokines.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Bonn, Germany (SFB877 project A10) and by the Cluster of Excellence “Inflammation at Interfaces” and was supported by e:Bio − Modul II- Verbundprojekt: InTraSig and the Research Commission of the Medical Faculty of the Heinrich-Heine University.
© 2017 American Chemical Society.