Biochemical Identity and Characterization of the Mouse Interleukin-2 Receptor β and γc Subunits

Thomas R. Malek, Robert K. Furse, Margaret L. Fleming, Anthony J. Fadell, You Wen

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14 Scopus citations


Although the mouse IL-2 receptor (IL-2R) β and γc subunits have been identified by molecular cloning, the biochemical identity of these subunits has not yet been established. In the present study, the mouse IL-2R was biochemically characterized from cell lines expressing normal and aberrant IL-2R. Using novel monoclonal antibodies specific for the β or γc subunits, we established that the Mr of the β chain is 90,000–100,000 and that of the γc subunit is 75,000–80,000. Analysis of transfected EL4 cells that expressed α, γc, and truncated β subunits or mutant EL4 cells, which selectively lacked cell surface γc, revealed that no other material migrated to a position on SDS-PAGE characteristic of IL-2/IL-2Rβ and IL-2/IL-2Rγc cross-linked complexes, respectively. Thus, the β and γc subunits appear to be the sole IL-2R constituents of these IL-2 cross-linked complexes. The IL-2/IL-2Rγc, but not the IL-2/IL-2Rβ, complex exhibited enhanced mobility after SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis under nonreducing conditions, suggesting a more compact structure for γc as a result of intrachain disulfide bonds. The primary posttranslational modification of the mouse β and γc subunits is N-linked glycosylation. These biochemical studies reconcile past uncertainties concerning the subunit composition of the mouse IL-2R and are consistent with a model of the IL-2R containing only three subunits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-454
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Interferon and Cytokine Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cell Biology
  • Virology


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