The IL-2 toxin-mediated inhibition of protein synthesis in high affinity IL-2-R-positive murine and human T cell lines has been examined. Both excess free IL-2 and mAb to the Tac epitope of the p55 subunit of IL-2-R are shown to block the action of IL-2 toxin; whereas, agents that interact with other receptors or antigens on the T cell surface have no effect. We show that IL-2 toxin, like diphtheria toxin, must pass through an acidic vesicle in order to intoxicate target T cells. Finally, we demonstrate that the IL-2 toxin-mediated inhibition of protein synthesis in both human and murine T cells that bear the high affinity IL-2-R is due to the classic diphtheria toxin fragment A-catalyzed ADP ribosylation of elongation factor 2.

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