Large granular lymphocytes (LGL) from four patients with abnormally expanded LGL in the peripheral blood were studied regarding their receptor for IL-2. LGL from none of the cases examined expressed Tac Ag, an Il-2R glycoprotein recognized by anti-Tac mAb. However, 125I-labeled IL-2 binding experiments demonstrated that 1400 to 2800/cell IL-2 binding sites with a single affinity (K: 0.46-1.4 nM) were expressed on LGL from the four patients. The affinity was not high but about 10-fold higher than that of the low affinity IL-2R expressed on activated normal T lymphocytes. Furthermore, LGL from the four patients proliferated in response to higher concentrations of IL-2 and these responses were not inhibited by an excess amount of anti-Tac antibody. 125I-Labeled IL-2 cross-linking studies performed in two cases revealed the predominant expression of an IL-2 binding molecule with an estimated Mr of 70,000 to 75,000. After the culture with IL-2 for 48 h, expression of a small amount of Tac Ag (p55) was induced on LGL in at least three cases. These data strongly suggested that the IL-2R expressed on LGL is functional and identical to the p70, a novel IL-2 binding peptide that has been recently identified and speculated to form the high affinity IL-2R in association with the p55.

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