Considerable information presently exists regarding the molecular, biochemical, and biological features of the human IL-2 receptor. The IL-2 receptor protein, multiple receptor mRNAs, and a single structural gene have now been identified. The important role of this receptor in normal T-cell growth is well established and its potential participation in B-cell growth and differentiation appreciated. The availability of cloned gene products for both the IL-2 receptor and IL-2 may permit the future development of novel biological agents capable of either augmenting or blunting the T-cell immune response. The intriguing interrelationship of HTLV-I and -II infection and altered IL-2 receptor expression is now being unraveled. However, the structural difference in high and low affinity receptors as well as the mechanism by which signals for T-cell growth are propagated through the high affinity receptor remain dominant, unanswered questions in the field.