Interleukin-15 interactions with interleukin-15 receptor complexes: characterization and species specificity

Cytokine. 2002 Nov 7;20(3):121-9. doi: 10.1006/cyto.2002.1989.


Interleukin (IL-) 2 and IL-15 share the IL-2 receptor betagamma c subunits (IL-2Rbetagamma c) but have specific, unique alpha receptor subunits. We studied species specificity of human (hu), simian (si), and mouse (mu) IL-15 and found that hu and si IL-15 behaved similarly in all systems investigated. Hu and mu IL-15 bound hu or mu IL-15Ralpha with equal high affinity in the presence or absence of IL-2Rbetagamma c and exhibited similar proliferative activities on cells containing all three subunits. However, quantitative differences were noted in the specific activity of hu and mu IL-15 in both in vitro and in vivo systems utilizing IL-2Rbetagamma c in the absence of IL-15Ralpha. These data show that hu IL-15 may be used in mouse model systems, however care must be taken when comparing the efficacy and toxicity of cytokines across species.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Glycosylation
  • Haplorhini
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-15 / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-15 / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Subunits / chemistry
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • Receptors, Interleukin-15
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / chemistry
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / metabolism*
  • Solubility
  • Species Specificity
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / drug effects
  • Spleen / metabolism


  • IL15RA protein, human
  • Il15ra protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-15
  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, Interleukin-15
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2