Interleukin-6 receptor-interleukin-6 fusion proteins with enhanced interleukin-6 type pleiotropic activities

Judith Chebath, Dina Fischer, Anil Kumar, Jae Wook Oh, Orit Kolett, Tsvee Lapidot, Martina Fischer, Stefan Rose-John, Arnon Nagler, Shimon Slavin, Michel Revel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An sIL-6R/IL-6 chimera, directly fusing the natural forms of soluble IL-6 receptor and IL-6, as found in human body fluids, was produced in transfected human cells. The secreted p85 glycoprotein was active at a concentration of 120 pM to produce growth-arrest and spindleoid differentiation of murine melanoma F10.9 cells, which do not respond to IL-6 alone. This fusion protein was as active as the yeast-produced p56 fusion protein containing a shortened sIL-6R, linked through a flexible peptide chain to IL-6 (Hyper IL-6). The concentration of Hyper IL-6 needed to arrest the growth of F10.9 cells was much lower than that needed of a combination of IL-6 and sIL-6R, added separately. Hyper IL-6 was also more active than IL-6 in stimulating growth of murine plasmacytoma T1165 cells, the half maximal stimulation being obtained at 2 pM Hyper IL-6 versus 23 pM for IL-6. In order to evaluate the effect of the fused sIL-6R/IL-6 proteins on human hematopoietic primitive progenitor cells, they were added to suspension cultures of CD34+ cells from human cord blood in addition to both flt3/flk2 ligand (FL) and stem cell factor (SCF). Fused sIL-6R/IL-6 produced a marked stimulation of cell expansion and a marked increase in the number of colony forming units when subsequently plated in semi-solid medium with IL-3, GM-CSF, SCF and erythropoietin. Ex-vivo maintenance and expansion of early progenitor cells in bone marrow transplantation protocols may be a potential application for the sIL-6R/IL-6 chimeric glycoproteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-365
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Cytokine Network
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Growth inhibition
  • Hematopoiesis
  • Interleukin-6
  • Melanoma


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