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Interleukin 15

Interleukin 15
Symbol(s) IL15; IL-15; MGC9721
External IDs OMIM: 600554 MGI: 103014 Homologene: 487
RNA expression pattern

More reference expression data

Human Mouse
Entrez 3600 16168
Ensembl ENSG00000164136 ENSMUSG00000031712
Uniprot P40933 Q1AHQ6
Refseq NM_000585 (mRNA)
NP_000576 (protein)
NM_008357 (mRNA)
NP_032383 (protein)
Location Chr 4: 142.78 - 142.87 Mb Chr 8: 85.23 - 85.24 Mb
Pubmed search [1] [2]

Interleukin 15 (IL-15) is a cytokine with structural similarity to IL-2 that is secreted by mononuclear phagocytes (and some other cells) following infection by virus(es). This cytokine induces cell proliferation of natural killer cells; cells of the innate immune system whose principal role is to kill virally infected cells.

The protein encoded by this gene is a cytokine that regulates T and natural killer cell activation and proliferation. This cytokine and interleukine 2 share many biological activities. They are found to bind common hematopoietin receptor subunits, and may compete for the same receptor, and thus negatively regulate each other's activity. The number of CD8+ memory cells is shown to be controlled by a balance between this cytokine and IL2. This cytokine induces the activation of JAK kinases, as well as the phosphorylation and activation of transcription activators STAT3, STAT5, and STAT6. Studies of the mouse counterpart suggested that this cytokine may increase the expression of apoptosis inhibitor BCL2L1/BCL-x(L), possibly through the transcription activation activity of STAT6, and thus prevent apoptosis. Two alternatively spliced transcript variants of this gene encoding the same protein have been reported.[1]

Maintenance of memory cells does not appear to require persistence of the original antigen; instead, survival signals for memory lymphocytes are provided by cytokines such as IL-15.

In transgenic mice that have the IL-15 receptor alpha (IL-15Ralpha) gene knocked out, natural killer cells cells do not develop.

In people with history of acute infectious mononucleosis (the syndrome associated with primary Epstein-Barr virus infection), IL-15R expressing lymphocytes are not detected--even 14 years after infection.


  1. ^ Entrez Gene: IL15 interleukin 15.

Further reading

  • Maślińska D (2001). "The cytokine network and interleukin-15 (IL-15) in brain development.". Folia neuropathologica / Association of Polish Neuropathologists and Medical Research Centre, Polish Academy of Sciences 39 (2): 43-7. PMID 11680634.
  • Liew FY, McInnes IB (2002). "Role of interleukin 15 and interleukin 18 in inflammatory response.". Ann. Rheum. Dis. 61 Suppl 2: ii100-2. PMID 12379638.
  • Lodolce JP, Burkett PR, Koka RM, et al. (2003). "Regulation of lymphoid homeostasis by interleukin-15.". Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 13 (6): 429-39. PMID 12401478.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Interleukin_15". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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