Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a lymphokine which, upon binding to its receptor, leads to the proliferation and differentiation of T-cells (helper, suppressor, and cytotoxic) and B-cells. While human and murine IL-2 have been extensively studied, less is known about bovine IL-2. In order to understand the induction of bovine IL-2 at the molecular level, we have examined IL-2 mRNA induction. The dose-responses and time courses of the production of IL-2 mRNA in response to Concanavalin A (ConA), 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), and ionomycin in lymph node lymphocytes (LNC) were determined. We found that high levels of IL-2 mRNA were produced in response to 1 μg ml-1 ConA plus 10-8 M TPA, but that even higher levels were produced in response to 1 μM ionomycin plus 10-8 M TPA. We also found that LNC stimulated with ConA displayed two phases of IL-2 mRNA production, one occurring approximately 2-4 h after stimulation and one occurring approximately 10 h after stimulation. However, in the presence of ConA plus TPA or ionomycin plus TPA the response was monophasic. IL-2 mRNA was detected within 2 h of addition of ConA plus TPA (the earliest time examined), reached maximum levels within 6 h, and declined to low levels after 12 h. IL-2 mRNA from LNC incubated with ionomycin plus TPA appeared within 2 h, and reached maximum levels at about 9 h. In contrast to the decrease seen after 12 h with ConA plus TPA, IL-2 mRNA from these cells remained high for 18 h and declined to low levels after 24 h.
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