Identification and cloning of a novel IL-15 binding protein that is structurally related to the alpha chain of the IL-2 receptor

EMBO J. 1995 Aug 1;14(15):3654-63. doi: 10.1002/j.1460-2075.1995.tb00035.x.


Interleukin-15 (IL-15) is a novel cytokine of the four-helix bundle family which shares many biological activities with IL-2, probably due to its interaction with the IL-2 receptor beta and gamma (IL-2R beta and gamma c) chains. We report here the characterization and molecular cloning of a distinct murine IL-15R alpha chain. IL-15R alpha alone displays an affinity of binding for IL-15 equivalent to that of the heterotrimeric IL-2R for IL-2. A biologically functional heteromeric IL-15 receptor complex capable of mediating IL-15 responses was generated through reconstruction experiments in a murine myeloid cell line. IL-15R alpha is structurally similar to IL-2R alpha; together they define a new cytokine receptor family. The distribution of IL-15 and IL-15R alpha mRNA suggests that IL-15 may have biological activities distinct from IL-2.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Interleukin-15
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology
  • Interleukins / metabolism*
  • Interleukins / pharmacology
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Organ Specificity
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Receptors, Interleukin-15
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / chemistry
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2 / genetics*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Solubility
  • T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic
  • Th2 Cells / cytology


  • Il15ra protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-15
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Interleukin-15
  • Receptors, Interleukin-2

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U22339