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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 May 24;91(11):4940-4.

The interleukin (IL) 2 receptor beta chain is shared by IL-2 and a cytokine, provisionally designated IL-T, that stimulates T-cell proliferation and the induction of lymphokine-activated killer cells.

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Metabolism Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


Late-phase human T-cell lymphotropic virus I-associated adult T-cell leukemia cells express IL-2 receptors (IL-2R) but no longer produce IL-2. We have reported that the IL-2-independent adult T-cell leukemia line HuT-102 secretes a cytokine, provisionally designated IL-T, that stimulates T-cell proliferation and lymphokine-activated killer cell activity. Stimulation of proliferation of the cytokine-dependent human T-cell line Kit-225 mediated by HuT-102-conditioned medium or by 3200-fold-purified IL-T was not blocked by the addition of antibodies against IL-2 or IL-2R alpha subunit. However, IL-T-mediated stimulation of this human T-cell line was inhibited by addition of Mik-beta 1, an antibody that binds specifically to IL-2R beta subunit. In addition, the activation of large granular lymphocytes to lymphokine-activated killer cells mediated by IL-T-containing conditioned medium was not blocked by antibodies directed toward IL-2 or IL-2 alpha but was inhibited by an antibody to IL-2R beta, suggesting the requirement of this receptor subunit for IL-T action. This conclusion was confirmed using an IL-3-dependent murine myeloid precursor cell line, 32D, that expresses IL-2R alpha and IL-2R gamma, but not IL-2R beta. Neither IL-2 nor IL-T stimulated 32D cell proliferation. However, after transfection with the gene encoding human IL-2R beta, 32D beta cells proliferated on addition of either cytokine. The IL-T-mediated stimulation of 32D beta proliferation was inhibited by an anti-IL-2R beta antibody but not by an anti-IL-2 antibody. Thus, the IL-T-mediated stimulation of T-cell and lymphokine-activated killer cell activation requires the expression of the IL-2R beta subunit.

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