Cytokine that binds to and signals through the IL1RL1/ST2 receptor which in turn activates NF-kappa-B and MAPK signaling pathways in target cells (PubMed:16286016). Involved in the maturation of Th2 cells inducing the secretion of T-helper type 2-associated cytokines. Also involved in activation of mast cells, basophils, eosinophils and natural killer cells. Acts as a chemoattractant for Th2 cells, and may function as an "alarmin", that amplifies immune responses during tissue injury (PubMed:17853410, PubMed:18836528). In quiescent endothelia the uncleaved form is constitutively and abundantly expressed, and acts as a chromatin-associated nuclear factor with transcriptional repressor properties, it may sequester nuclear NF-kappaB/RELA, lowering expression of its targets (PubMed:21734074). This form is rapidely lost upon angiogenic or proinflammatory activation (PubMed:18787100).
Expressed at high level in high endothelial venules found in tonsils, Peyer patches and mesenteric lymph nodes. Almost undetectable in placenta.
Belongs to the IL-1 family. Highly divergent.
The homeodomain-like HTH domain mediates nuclear localization and heterochromatin association.
The full length protein can be released from cells and is able to signal via the IL1RL1/ST2 receptor. However, proteolytic processing by CSTG/cathepsin G and ELANE/neutrophil elastase produces C-terminal peptides that are more active than the unprocessed full length protein. May also be proteolytically processed by calpains (PubMed:19596270). Proteolytic cleavage mediated by apoptotic caspases including CASP3 and CASP7 results in IL33 inactivation (PubMed:19559631). In vitro proteolytic cleavage by CASP1 was reported (PubMed:16286016) but could not be confirmed in vivo (PubMed:19465481) suggesting that IL33 is probably not a direct substrate for that caspase.
Nucleus. Chromosome. Cytoplasmic vesicle, secretory vesicle. Secreted. Associates with heterochromatin and mitotic chromosomes (PubMed:17185418).