Regulating the immune system via IL-15 transpresentation

Cytokine. 2012 Sep;59(3):479-90. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2012.06.017. Epub 2012 Jul 12.


Transpresentation has emerged as an important mechanism mediating IL-15 responses in a subset of lymphocytes during the steady state. In transpresentation, cell surface IL-15, bound to IL-15Rα is delivered to opposing lymphocytes during a cell-cell interaction. The events most dependent on IL-15 include the development and homeostasis of memory CD8 T cells, Natural Killer cells, invariant Natural Killer T cells, and intraepithelial lymphocytes. As lymphocyte development and homeostasis involve multiple steps and mechanisms, IL-15 transpresentation can have diverse roles throughout. Moreover, distinct stages of lymphocyte differentiation require IL-15 transpresented by different cells, which include both hematopoietic and non-hematopoietic cell types. Herein, we will describe the points where IL-15 transpresentation impacts these processes, the specific cells thought to drive IL-15 responses, as well as their role in the course of development and homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology*
  • Immunologic Memory / immunology
  • Interleukin-15 / immunology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / immunology
  • Natural Killer T-Cells / immunology


  • Interleukin-15