Three rat lymphoid cell lines (TARS-1, TARL-2, and TART-1) (12) transformed by human T cell leukemia/lymphoma virus I (HTLV-I) had rearrangement of the beta chain gene of the T cell antigen receptor, and had integrated proviral DNA from HTLV-I in their genomes. As is the case with adult T cell leukemia (ATL)-derived human T cell lines transformed by HTLV-I, these rat cell lines unequivocally expressed interleukin 2 (IL-2) receptor, as determined by radiolabeled IL-2 binding. By Scatchard plot analysis, one of the cell lines, TART-1, proved to have high affinity receptors (Ka = 1.3 X 10(11)/M and 8.8 X 10(9)/M). Rat IL-2 receptor, not human IL-2 receptor, was expressed on HTLV+ rat cell lines, as demonstrated by the fact that they expressed antigens reactive with monoclonal antibodies (ART-18) against rat IL-2 receptor, but not with anti-Tac antibodies. The collective evidence indicates that the endogenous IL-2 receptor gene is activated in human and rat lymphoid cell lines with HTLV-I production. The mechanism of abnormal IL-2 receptor expression in HTLV infection is discussed.

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