Human interleukin 2 (IL-2) is a member of the class of crucial regulators of lymphocyte proliferation. The action of IL-2 is known to be mediated through binding to a specific IL-2 receptor (IL-2R) which comprises at least two distinct proteins: IL-2Rα (p55) and IL-2Rβ (p70–75). However, the expression and function of IL-2R are largely unknown in acute myeloblastic leukemia cells. In a human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), IL-3, or stem cell factor-dependent myeloid leukemia cell line (M07E), IL-2 was found to stimulate proliferation in a dose-dependent manner and to augment GM-CSF- and stem cell factor-induced proliferation of M07E cells. The expression of IL-2Rβ on M07E cells was detectable with 125I-IL-2 binding and affinity cross-linking analyses and with a monoclonal antibody against IL-2Rβ, Mik-β1. Although the expression of IL-2Rβ was not down-regulated but somewhat up-regulated by treatment with GM-CSF in both mRNA and protein levels, GM-CSF was found to compete (75%) with radiolabeled IL-2 for binding to IL-2R on M07E cells, whereas no competition of GM-CSF binding was observed with IL-2 even at a 400-fold molar excess. These results suggest that IL-2R may be functionally expressed in some cases of acute myeloblastic leukemia cells and raise the possibility that IL-2 may have some effects on human myelopoiesis.


Supported in part by grants to Y. K. from the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, the Osaka Cancer Research Foundation, the Research Foundation for Cancer and Cardiovascular Diseases (Osaka), and the Inamori Foundation.

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