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Science. 1998 Mar 27;279(5359):2118-21.

Monoallelic expression of the interleukin-2 locus.

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  • 1Pediatric Immunology, Department of Research and Children's Hospital, Basel University Medical School, 4031 Basel, Switzerland.


The lymphokine interleukin-2 (IL-2) is responsible for autocrine cell cycle progression and regulation of immune responses. Uncontrolled secretion of IL-2 results in adverse reactions ranging from anergy, to aberrant T cell activation, to autoimmunity. With the use of fluorescent in situ hybridization and single-cell polymerase chain reaction in cells with different IL-2 alleles, IL-2 expression in mature thymocytes and T cells was found to be tightly controlled by monoallelic expression. Because IL-2 is encoded at a nonimprinted autosomal locus, this result represents an unusual regulatory mode for controlling the precise expression of a single gene.

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