Signaling and Function of Interleukin-2 in T Lymphocytes

Sarah H Ross, Doreen A Cantrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

488 Citations (Scopus)
263 Downloads (Pure)


The discovery of interleukin-2 (IL-2) changed the molecular understanding of how the immune system is controlled. IL-2 is a pleiotropic cytokine, and dissecting the signaling pathways that allow IL-2 to control the differentiation and homeostasis of both pro- and anti-inflammatory T cells is fundamental to determining the molecular details of immune regulation. The IL-2 receptor couples to JAK tyrosine kinases and activates the STAT5 transcription factors. However, IL-2 does much more than control transcriptional programs; it is a key regulator of T cell metabolic programs. The development of global phosphoproteomic approaches has expanded the understanding of IL-2 signaling further, revealing the diversity of phosphoproteins that may be influenced by IL-2 in T cells. However, it is increasingly clear that within each T cell subset, IL-2 will signal within a framework of other signal transduction networks that together will shape the transcriptional and metabolic programs that determine T cell fate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-433
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2018


  • Interleukin-2
  • JAK1/3
  • PI3K
  • cytokine signaling


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