The Molecular Biology of the Human Interleukin-2 Receptor

  • Warner C. Greene
Part of the New Horizons in Therapeutics book series (NHTH)


The recognition of antigen by antigen-specific receptors present on the surface of resting T cells initiates a cascade of intracellular events that lead to cellular activation and growth. These events include the induction of the de novo synthesis and secretion of interleukin-2 (IL-2 or T cell growth factor) (Morgan et al., 1976) and the transient expression of high- and low-affinity IL-2 receptors (Smith, 1980; Robb, 1984; Greene and Robb, 1985; Greene et al., 1985). The interaction of IL-2 with its high-affinity membrane receptor in turn transduces the requisite intracellular signals leading to T cell proliferation and culminates in the generation of specific effector cells that mediate helper and cytotoxic T cell functions. The early increase in IL-2 receptor expression is later followed by a progressive decline in receptor number that may play an important role in terminating the T cell immune response. Thus, while specificity of this response is maintained by the antigen receptor, the magnitude and duration of the T cell immune response is controlled in part through the transient production of IL-2 and the display of IL-2 receptors.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Warner C. Greene
    • 1
  1. 1.Howard Hughes Medical InstituteDuke University School of MedicineDurhamUSA

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