3QB1: Interleukin-2 mutant D10

The immunostimulatory cytokine interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a growth factor for a wide range of leukocytes, including T cells and natural killer (NK) cells. Considerable effort has been invested in using IL-2 as a therapeutic agent for a variety of immune disorders ranging from AIDS to cancer. However, adverse effects have limited its use in the clinic. On activated T cells, IL-2 signals through a quaternary 'high affinity' receptor complex consisting of IL-2, IL-2Ralpha (termed CD25), IL-2Rbeta and IL-2Rgamma. Naive T cells express only a low density of IL-2Rbeta and IL-2Rgamma, and are therefore relatively insensitive to IL-2, but acquire sensitivity after CD25 expression, which captures the cytokine and presents it to IL-2Rbeta and IL-2Rgamma. Here, using in vitro evolution, we eliminated the functional requirement of IL-2 for CD25 expression by engineering an IL-2 'superkine' (also called super-2) with increased binding affinity for IL-2Rbeta. Crystal structures of the IL-2 superkine in free and receptor-bound forms showed that the evolved mutations are principally in the core of the cytokine, and molecular dynamics simulations indicated that the evolved mutations stabilized IL-2, reducing the flexibility of a helix in the IL-2Rbeta binding site, into an optimized receptor-binding conformation resembling that when bound to CD25. The evolved mutations in the IL-2 superkine recapitulated the functional role of CD25 by eliciting potent phosphorylation of STAT5 and vigorous proliferation of T cells irrespective of CD25 expression. Compared to IL-2, the IL-2 superkine induced superior expansion of cytotoxic T cells, leading to improved antitumour responses in vivo, and elicited proportionally less expansion of T regulatory cells and reduced pulmonary oedema. Collectively, we show that in vitro evolution has mimicked the functional role of CD25 in enhancing IL-2 potency and regulating target cell specificity, which has implications for immunotherapy.
PDB ID: 3QB1Download
MMDB ID: 98620
PDB Deposition Date: 2011/1/12
Updated in MMDB: 2017/11
Experimental Method:
x-ray diffraction
Resolution: 3.1  Å
Source Organism:
Similar Structures:
Biological Unit for 3QB1: monomeric; determined by author
Molecular Components in 3QB1
Label Count Molecule
Protein (1 molecule)
Interleukin-2(Gene symbol: IL2)
Molecule annotation
* Click molecule labels to explore molecular sequence information.

Citing MMDB