A family of small inducible proteins secreted by leukocytes are members of a new superfamily that includes leukocyte and fibroblast-derived inflammatory agents, growth factors, and indicators of various activation processes.
We have isolated and characterized four cDNA clones that encode mRNA expressed more abundantly in Con A-activated mouse helper T cells than by resting T cells. One mRNA encoded a approximately 14-kDa protein with a hydrophobic N-terminal sequence and was abundantly expressed by the Th 2 subset of Th cells, but was not expressed by Th 1 cells. The remaining three mRNA encoded related approximately 8-kDa secreted proteins that are part of a family of small, secreted, and inducible mouse and human proteins. This family of proteins is itself distantly related to another family of growth and inflammatory factors that are associated with various lymphoid and fibroblast activation phenomena. One of the small, inducible, secreted proteins has a predicted mature N terminus identical to that of the previously described macrophage inflammatory protein.