IL-27 protein is a member of the IL-6 superfamily, which is expressed on monocytes, endothelial cells and dendritic cells. IL-27 protein is also referred as the IL-12 p35-related protein, p28, is one subunit of a heterodimeric cytokine complex, and associates with another subunit EBI3 (EBV-induced gene 3), an IL-12 p4-related protein (IL-27B). IL-27 protein is an early product of activated antigen-presenting cells and drives rapid clonal expansion of naive CD4(+) T cells and plays a role in the early regulation of Th1 cells initiation which drives efficient adaptive immune response. IL-27 protein has an antiproliferative activity on melanomas through WSX-1/STAT1 signaling. Thus, IL-27 protein may be an attractive candidate as an antitumor agent applicable to cancer immunotherapy.
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