The interleukin-13 receptor is a type I cytokine receptor, binding Interleukin-13. It consists of two subunits, encoded by IL13RA1 and IL4R, respectively. These two genes encode the proteins IL-13Rα1 and IL-4Rα. These form a dimer with IL-13 binding to the IL-13Rα1 chain and IL-4Rα stabilises this interaction. This IL-13 receptor can also instigate IL-4 signalling. In both cases this occurs via activation of the Janus kinase (JAK)/Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription (STAT) pathway, resulting in phosphorylation of STAT6. Phosphorylated STAT6 dimerises and acts as a transcription factor activating many genes, such as eotaxin.
There is also another receptor that can bind IL-13: IL-13Rα2 encoded by the IL13RA2 gene. This binds IL-13 with very high affinity (and can therefore sequester it) but does not allow IL-4 binding. It acts as a negative regulator of both IL-13 and IL-4, however the mechanism of this is still undetermined.
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