Eight T lymphoblastoid cell lines transformed by Herpesvirus saimiri were studied for requirement of interleukin 2 (IL-2) for growth in tissue culture and expression of the IL-2 receptor. The results show that four cell lines grew independent of IL-2, but four other cell lines required IL-2 for optimal growth. However, all H. saimiri transformed cells expressed IL-2 receptors, regardless of IL-2 requirement. Between 2,250 and 8,800 high-affinity receptor sites/cell were detected by ligand-binding assays; in contrast, only about 1,000 sites/cell were in an uninfected IL-2-dependent marmoset T cell line. Surface-bound IL-2 was internalized and antibodies to the receptor inhibited cell growth. Expression of IL-2 receptors may allow expansion of tumor cells in vivo in response to endogenous or exogenous IL-2.

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