PerspectiveImmunology

An Innate Role for IL-17

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Science  01 Apr 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6025, pp. 47-48
DOI: 10.1126/science.1205311

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Summary

Insight into the functional role of a particular component of the immune system, such as a cell type, cytokine, or constituent of a signaling pathway, can be gleaned from diverse human genetic mutations that have naturally occurred in critical immune system processes. For example, immune dysregulation polyendocrinopathy enteropathy X-linked syndrome is an autoimmune disease that was determined to be secondary to dysregulation of a subset of regulatory immune cells (CD4 subset of T cells) caused by mutations in the FOXP3 gene. This discovery identified the transcription factor FOXP3 in controlling normal immune responses and raised the issue of defects in regulatory T cells in more common human autoimmune disorders (1). On page 65 of this issue, Puel et al. (2) report tracing an abnormal immune response to infection with the common fungus Candida albicans to mutations in components of a signaling pathway involving the cytokine interleukin-17 (IL-17).