IRAK: a kinase associated with the interleukin-1 receptor.
The pleiotropic biological activities of interleukin-1 (IL-1) are mediated by its type I receptor (IL-1RI). When the ligand binds, IL-1RI initiates a signaling cascade that results in the activation of the transcription regulator nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappa B). A protein kinase designated IRAK (IL-1 receptor-associated kinase) was purified, and its complementary DNA was molecularly cloned. When human embryonic kidney cells (cell line 293) over-expressing IL-1RI or HeLa cells were exposed to IL-1, IRAK rapidly associated with the IL-1RI complex and was phosphorylated. The primary amino acid sequence of IRAK shares similarity with that of Pelle, a protein kinase that is essential for the activation of a NF-kappa B homolog in Drosophila.