By reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction on messenger RNA from human polymorphonuclear cells, we have isolated a sequence identical to the cDNA coding for intracellular interleukin 1 receptor antagonist (icIL-1ra), but containing an additional in-frame 63-bp sequence located three codons downstream of the translation start of icIL-1ra. This additional sequence is inserted between the first and second exon of the intracellular form, the latter of which is colinear with part of the first exon of the secreted form of IL-1ra. The additional sequence is coded by an extra exon located 2 kb downstream the first icIL-1ra-specific exon. The complementary DNA sequence of the alternatively spliced form of icIL-1ra shows that the predicted protein differs from classical icIL-1ra in the NH2 terminus by insertion of a leaderless sequence of 21 amino acids rich in glycine and glutamic acid residues. Transcripts coding for this new form of icIL-1ra were detected in activated fibroblasts, keratinocytes, and at low levels in myelomonocytic cells. The recombinant protein expressed in COS cells had an apparent molecular mass in sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of 25 kD compared to 22 kD of classical icIL-1ra, and was mostly intracellular. The ability of this new form of icIL-1ra to inhibit IL-1 activity, in terms of induction of E-selectin and human immunodeficiency virus replication, was comparable to that of classical icIL-1ra. We propose to refer to this new form of icIL-1ra as icIL-1ra type II.

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