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The Human Interleukin-2 Receptor: Normal and Abnormal Expression in T Cells and in Leukemias Induced by the Human T-Lymphotropic Retroviruses

WARNER C. GREENE, M.D.; WARREN J. LEONARD, M.D.; JOEL M. DEPPER, M.D.; DAVID L. NELSON, M.D.; and THOMAS A. WALDMANN, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Wendy L. Schubert, Sc.M.; Clinical Center Communications, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, MD 20892.


Bethesda, Maryland


Ann Intern Med. 1986;105(4):560-572. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-105-4-560
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The human receptor for interleukin-2 (T-cell growth factor) plays a critical role in the growth of T cells and is required for full expression of the normal immune response. Through hybridoma and recombinant DNA techniques, the interleukin-2 receptor protein has been biochemically characterized and purified; full-length copies of its complementary DNA have been molecularly cloned, sequenced, and expressed in eukaryotic cells; and the receptor gene has been characterized. Transient expression of the interleukin-2 receptor gene occurs during normal T-cell activation, and high- and low-affinity forms of the membrane receptor exist. A naturally occurring, soluble receptor has also been isolated, and its levels in serum correlate with the activity of various diseases. Deregulation of interleukin-2 receptor expression occurs in T-cell leukemias produced by the human T-lymphotropic retroviruses types l and ll (HTLV-l and -ll) and has been causally linked to the action of the trans-activator (tat) gene of these viruses. Monoclonal antibodies specific for the interleukin-2 receptor are being evaluated in the treatment of HTLV-l-induced leukemias and other conditions involving the inappropriate function of activated T cells.

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