Interleukin 12 (IL-12), also known as natural killer cell stimulatory factor (NKSF) or cytotoxic lymphocyte maturation factor (CLMF), is a pleiotropic cytokine originally identified in the medium of activated human B lymphoblastoid cell lines. The p40 subunit of IL-12 has been shown to have extensive amino acid sequence homology to the extracellular domain of the human IL-6 receptor while the p35 subunit shows distant but significant sequence similarity to IL-6, G-CSF, and chicken MGF. These observations have led to the suggestion that IL-12 might have evolved from a cytokine/soluble receptor complex. Human and mouse IL-12 share 70 % and 60 % amino acid sequence homology in their p40 and p35 subunits, respectively. IL-12 apparently shows species specificity with human IL-12 reportedly showing minimal activity in the mouse system.
Synonyms: NKSF, CTL maturation factor (TCMF), Cytotoxic lymphocyte maturation factor (CLMF), TSF