Post-translational regulation of interleukin 1β secretion

Anna Rubartelli, Adriana Bajetto, Gabriella Allavena, Federico Cozzolino, Roberto Sitia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In view of the key role played by interleukin 1 (IL-1) β in inflammation, its production is likely to be precisely regulated. Previous studies have shown that IL-1β biosynthesis is controlled at the transcriptional and translational levels. We have investigated whether post-translational events also play a role in regulating the production of bioactive IL-1β. IL-1β, which lacks a signal sequence, is released by activated monocytes through a novel pathway of secretion, alternative to the classical endoplasmic reticulum-Golgi route. Secretion of mature 17 kDA IL-1β is increased when pulse-labelled activated monocytes are chased in the presence of heat-aggregated immunoglobulins or of various drugs. Febrile temperatures inhibit secretion of mature IL-1β, but only reduce its synthesis: treatment with cycloheximide restores secretion. Processing of the 33 kDa precursor to the 17 kDa mature molecule is inhibited when the external pH is 8 or higher: under these conditions, release of unprocessed, biologically inactive 33 kDa IL-1β is observed. Thus, secretion of IL-1β is regulated by post-translational mechanisms which operate at the level of both proteolytic processing and extracellular export.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-124
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1993


  • interleukin 1
  • processing
  • secretion
  • signal sequence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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  • Cite this

    Rubartelli, A., Bajetto, A., Allavena, G., Cozzolino, F., & Sitia, R. (1993). Post-translational regulation of interleukin 1β secretion. Cytokine, 5(2), 117-124.