Adult T leukemia cells produce a lymphokine that augments interleukin 2 receptor expression

J Mol Cell Immunol. 1985;2(1):17-26.


Human T-cell leukemia virus (HTLV)-infected cell lines derived from adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) express constitutively the receptor for Interleukin-2 (IL-2-R) and the associated antigen (Tac antigen). In contrast, the same antigen is transiently expressed by normal T-cells only after immune stimulation. Recently, it was reported that the constitutively expressed Tac antigen on ATL cells and cell lines was not down-regulated or modulated by anti-Tac antibody. Since the antigen was modulated on normal mitogen- or alloantigen-stimulated T-cells, we postulated that the regulation of IL-2-R may be abnormal on ATL cells; the synthesis of IL-2-R is continuously stimulated in these cells. A unique HTLV/ATLV(-) cell line (YT) derived from a child with acute lymphoblastic leukemia was found to express low levels of Tac antigen that could be enhanced by various stimuli, including conditioned medium (CM) derived from normal lymphocytes, but not by lectins (PHA, Con A). Of particular interest, the exposure of YT cells to CM from ATL cell lines with helper phenotype revealed the presence of factor(s) (ATL-derived factor, ADF) that augmented the synthesis and expression of IL-2-R/Tac antigen on YT cells and promoted YT cell growth. CM from HTLV(-) leukemia cell lines lacked both IL-2-R augmenting activity and a growth promoting activity. Immunoaffinity-purified IL-2 and recombinant gamma interferon also lacked IL-2-R augmenting activity. Moreover, the physicochemical analysis with Fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC) revealed that ADF was quite different in pI point from the IL-2-R augmenting activity in CM from normal lymphocytes. These results suggested that ADF is a unique product of HTLV(+) cells. The possible relationship between ADF production, HTLV infection, and the abnormal expression of IL-2-R is suggested, and these abnormalities may be advantageous for the leukemogenesis and abnormal growth of ATL.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / biosynthesis
  • Culture Media / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Human T-lymphotropic virus 1 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / drug effects
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism*
  • Leukemia-Lymphoma, Adult T-Cell / metabolism*
  • Leukemia-Lymphoma, Adult T-Cell / pathology
  • Lymphokines / metabolism*
  • Lymphokines / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / metabolism*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / pathology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Culture Media
  • Lymphokines
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2