Interleukin-36 (IL-36) cytokines are structurally similar to other Interleukin-1 superfamily members and are essential to convey inflammatory responses at epithelial barriers including the skin, lung, and gut. Due to their potent effects on immune cells, IL-36 cytokine activation is regulated on multiple levels, from expression and activation to receptor binding. Different IL-36 isoforms convey specific responses as a consequence of particular danger- or pathogen-associated molecular patterns. IL-36 expression and activation are regulated by exogenous pathogens, including fungi, viruses and bacteria but also by endogenous factors such as antimicrobial peptides or cytokines. Processing of IL-36 into potent bioactive forms is necessary for host protection but can elevate tissue damage. Indeed, exacerbated IL-36 signalling and hyperactivation are linked to the pathogenesis of diseases such as plaque and pustular psoriasis, emphasising the importance of understanding the molecular aspects regulating IL-36 activation. Here, we summarise facets of the electrochemical properties, regulation of extracellular cleavage by various proteases and receptor signalling of the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory IL-36 family members. Additionally, this intriguing cytokine subfamily displays many characteristics that are unique from prototypical members of the IL-1 family and these key distinctions are outlined here.

You do not currently have access to this content.