IL6 is a potent pleiotropic cytokine that regulates cell growth and differentiation and plays an important role in immune response. The protein encoded by this gene is a subunit of the receptor complex for IL6. The IL6 receptor is a protein complex consisting of this protein and interleukin 6 signal transducer (IL6ST/GP130/IL6-beta), a receptor subunit also shared by many other cytokines. Dysregulated production of IL6 and this receptor are implicated in the pathogenesis of many diseases, such as multiple myeloma, autoimmune diseases and prostate cancer. Alternatively spliced transcript variants encoding distinct isoforms have been reported.
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