A polylysine extended gibbon IL-2 (IL-2-L) was constructed by the addition of a lysine-rich oligopeptide, Gly3-(Lys-Lys-Asp)3-Leu-Glu to the C terminus of gibbon IL-2 by using rDNA technology. The bioactivity of the hybrid molecule was comparable to that of normal human rIL-2 in assays measuring T cell proliferation, and in generation of lymphokine-activated killer cells from PBL. Furthermore, the addition of the lysine-rich segment made the molecule more amenable to the chemical derivatization of amino groups. After biotinylation, IL-2-L retained a greater proportion of its bioactivity than normal rIL-2. In addition, biotinylated IL-2-L was capable of simultaneously binding to cell surface IL-2R and streptavidin. Thus, the addition of the lysine-rich oligopeptide facilitated the generation of an active form of biotinylated IL-2 which acts as a bridge between IL-2R-positive cells and avidin-coupled reagents and affinity supports. Such a selective means of labeling and binding IL-2-responsive cells may have great practical utility for IL-2-based immunotherapy.