Functional convergence of invertebrate and vertebrate cytokine-like molecules based on a similar lectin-like activity.

A. Beschin, M. Bilej, S. Magez, R. Lucas, P. De Baetselier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

27 Scopus citations


It is generally accepted that the action of cytokines results from their binding to specific receptors. However, many cytokines possess lectin-like activity that may be essential for the expression of their full biological activities. This review focuses on the physiological relevance of the lectin-like activity of cytokines during the innate immune response in mammals, using TNF as an illustrative example. Moreover, we will show that TNF displays functional analogies with a defense molecule from the earthworm Eisenia foetida termed CCF. These analogies are not reflected by primary sequence homology between CCF and TNF but are particularly based on a similar lectin-like activity/domain. Hence, from a phylogenetic point of view, the lectin-like activity/domain of CCF and TNF may represent an essential recognition mechanism that has been functionally conserved during the innate immune response of invertebrates and vertebrates as a result of convergent evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-163
Number of pages19
JournalProgress in molecular and subcellular biology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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