Essential role of endocytosis for interleukin-4-receptor-mediated JAK/STAT signalling

Kristina Kurgonaite, Hetvi Gandhi, Thomas Kurth, Sophie Pautot, Petra Schwille, Thomas Weidemann, Christian Bökel

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33 Citations (Scopus)


Many important signalling cascades operate through specialized signalling endosomes, but a corresponding mechanism has as yet not been described for hematopoietic cytokine receptors. Based on live-cell affinity measurements, we recently proposed that ligandinduced interleukin-4 receptor (IL-4R) complex formation and thus JAK/STAT pathway activation requires a local subcellular increase in receptor density. Here, we show that this concentration step is provided by the internalization of IL-4R subunits through a constitutive, Rac1-, Pak- and actin-mediated endocytosis route that causes IL-4R subunits to become enriched by about two orders of magnitude within a population of cortical endosomes. Consistently, ligand-induced receptor dimers are preferentially detected within these endosomes. IL-4 signalling can be blocked by pharmacological inhibitors targeting the actin polymerization machinery driving receptor internalization, placing endocytosis unambigously upstream of receptor activation. Taken together, these observations demonstrate a role for endocytosis that is mechanistically distinct from the scaffolding function of signalling endosomes in other pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3781-3795
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Cytokine receptor
  • Dimerization
  • IL-13
  • IL-13Rα1
  • IL-2Rγ
  • IL-4
  • IL-4Rα
  • JAK3
  • Pak1
  • Pak2
  • Rac1

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