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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Print version ISSN 0074-0276On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.82  suppl.2 Rio de Janeiro  1987 

Structure-function relationships for the interleukin 2 receptor system

Richard J. Robb1 

E. I. du Pont de Nemours & Co, Glenolden Laboratory, Medical Products Dept, Genolden, USA


Receptors for interleukin 2 (IL-2) esit in at least three forms which differ in their subunit compositio, their affinity for ligand and their ability to mediate a cellular reponse. Type I receptors occur following cellular acitivation and consist of the 55,000 m. w. glycoprotein Tac. These receptors bind IL-2 with a low affinity, do not internalize ligand and have not been definitively associated with any response. Type II receptors, on the other hand, conssit of one or more glycoproteins of 70,000 m. w. which have been termed "beta ([beta]) chains." They bind IL-2 with an intermediate affinity and rapidly internalize the ligand. [Beta] proteins mediate many cellular IL-2-dependent reponses, including the short-term activation of natural killer cells and the induction of Tac protein expression. Type III receptors consist of a ternary complex of the Tac protein, the [beta] chain(s) and IL-2. They are characterized by a paricularly high affinity for ligand association. Type III receptors also internalize ligand and mediate IL-2-dependent responses at low factor concentrations. The identification of two independent IL-2-binding molecules, Tac and [beta], thus provides the elusive molecular explanation for the differences in IL-2 receptor affinity and suggests the potential for selective therapeutic manipulation of IL-2 reponses.


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