The IL-2 receptor beta chain (p70): role in mediating signals for LAK, NK, and proliferative activities

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Science  02 Oct 1987:
Vol. 238, Issue 4823, pp. 75-78
DOI: 10.1126/science.3116668


Interleukin-2 (IL-2) induces cytolytic activity and proliferation of human blood lymphocytes. Yet, prior to activation, these cells do not express IL-2 receptors recognized by monoclonal antibodies to the Tac antigen. A novel glycoprotein (IL-2R beta), identified on several lymphocytoid cell lines, has the ability to bind IL-2 alone and to associate with Tac antigen (IL-2R alpha) to form high-affinity IL-2 receptors. It is now reported that IL-2R beta is expressed on both circulating T lymphocytes and large granular lymphocytes in quantities approximately proportional to their responsiveness to IL-2. Studies of the responses of these cells to IL-2 suggest that IL-2R beta mediates the initial phase of induction of lymphokine activated killer (LAK), natural killer (NK), and proliferative activities. Subsequently, IL-2R alpha is induced and functional high-affinity IL-2 receptors are expressed.