Research ArticleImmunotherapy

IL-2Rα mediates temporal regulation of IL-2 signaling and enhances immunotherapy

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Science Translational Medicine  28 Oct 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 311, pp. 311ra170
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aac8155

Immunotherapy: Reduce, reuse, recycle

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a growth factor used in the clinic to boost immune cell responses to cancer. The related cytokine IL-15 also expands conventional T cells but, unlike IL-2, does not expand regulatory T cells. Now, Su et al. demonstrate that although IL-15 may be effective in lymphopenic patients, IL-2 therapy may be needed in patients who retain immune cells, where T cells compete for available cytokine. The authors show that IL-2 but not IL-15 can sustain signaling after cytokine withdrawal through its high-affinity receptor subunit IL-2Rα. IL-2Rα forms a cell surface reservoir of IL-2 and also aids in recycling IL-2 back to the cell surface, increasing the efficiency of limited quantities of cytokine.

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