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Interleukin-1α (IL-1α) is a major alarmin cytokine which triggers and boosts the inflammatory responses. Since its discovery in the 1940s, the structure and bioactivity of IL-1α has been extensively studied and emerged as a vital regulator in inflammation and hematopoiesis. IL-1α is translated as a pro-form with minor bioactivity. The pro-IL-1α can be cleaved by several proteases to generate the N terminal and C terminal form of IL-1α. The C terminal form of IL-1α (mature form) has several folds higher bioactivity compared with its pro-form. IL-1α is a unique cytokine which could localize in the cytosol, membrane, nucleus, as well as being secreted out of the cell. However, the processing mechanism and physiological significance of these differentially localized IL-1α are still largely unknown. Accumulating evidence suggests IL-1α is involved in cancer pathogenesis. The role of IL-1α in cancer development is controversial as it exerts both pro- and anti-tumor roles in different cancer types. Here, we review the recent development in the processing and signaling of IL-1α and summarize the functions of IL-1α in cancer development.


Jing Wen Chiu, Zuhairah Binte Hanafi, Lionel Chin Yong Chew, Yu Mei, Haiyan Liu. IL-1α Processing, Signaling and Its Role in Cancer Progression. Cells. 2021 Jan 07;10(1)

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PMID: 33430381

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