GM-CSF also has some effects on mature cells of the immune system. These include, for example, inhibiting neutrophil migration and causing an alteration of the receptors expressed on the cells surface.
GM-CSF signals via signal transducer and activator of transcription, STAT5. In macrophages, it has also been shown to signal via STAT3. The cytokine activates macrophages to inhibit fungal survival. It induces deprivation in intracellular free zinc and increases production of reactive oxygen species that culminate in fungal zinc starvation and toxicity. Thus, GM-CSF facilitates development of the immune system and promotes defense against infections.
GM-CSF also plays a role in embryonic development by functioning as an embryokine produced by reproductive tract.
The human gene has been localized in close proximity to the interleukin 3 gene within a T helper type 2-associated cytokine gene cluster at chromosome region 5q31, which is known to be associated with interstitial deletions in the 5q- syndrome and acute myelogenous leukemia. GM-CSF and IL-3 are separated by an insulator element and thus independently regulated. Other genes in the cluster include those encoding interleukins 4, 5, and 13.
The sequence of human GM-CSF was first identified in 1985 and soon three recominbant human GM-CSFs were produced, one in bacteria, one in mammalian cells, and one in yeast;Immunex developed GM-CSF manufactured in yeast into sargramostim ( Leukine). Clinical trials of sargramostim were initiated in 1987; in that same year it was administered to six people as part of a compassionate-use protocol for the victims of cesium irradiation from the Goiânia accident.
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