We wish to retract the article titled “Mast Cells Express Novel Functional IL-15 Receptor α Isoforms” by Elena Bulanova, Vadim Budagian, Zane Orinska, Hans Krause, Ralf Paus, and Silvia Bulfone-Paus, The Journal of Immunology, 2003, 170: 5045–5055.

This retraction follows a formal investigation by the Research Center Borstel into scientific misconduct. The main findings of the investigation were the following:

  • 1) Fig. 4A: In the middle panel (“Membrane”), a specific band (lane 2) is artificially enhanced when compared to the raw data. The raw data of Fig. 4A were also used in Fig. 9A. However, the findings of Fig. 9A were independently shown in Fig. 9C (raw data available).

  • 2) Fig. 4B: The data shown in lanes 1, 2, and 3 of “IL-15RαΔ3,4,5” are identical to the data shown in lanes 1, 2, and 3 of “IL-15RαΔ4”.

The first two authors declined to sign this Letter of Retraction. Although recent repetitions of experiments in Fig. 4B confirm the reproducibility of the experimental data and conclusions, all the other authors retract the paper in its entirety. We deeply regret these irregularities and any adverse consequences that may have resulted from the paper's publication and apologize to the scientific community.