IL-15/IL-15Rα intracellular trafficking in human cells and protection from apoptosis

Raffaele Pereno, Alessia Gaggero, Marco Scudeletti, Lorella Lanza, Raffaella Meazza, Zohar Mishal, Claude Jasmin, Francesco Indiveri, Silvano Ferrini, Bruno Azzarone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


IL-15 is an immunostimulatory cytokine sharing with IL-2 the IL-2Rβγ complex. In vivo, IL-15 detection in synovial fluids has been associated with the development of rheumatoid arthritis. A debate exists as to whether IL-15 has the potential to be secreted in meaningful amounts or to act as a pericellular cytokine. Our data show (1) the presence of two IL-15 isoforms displaying signal peptides of different length and the capacity to be secreted restricted to the isoform bearing the longer one; (2) in cells expressing the two isoforms, the existence of different nuclear localization and intracellular trafficking of IL-15 and IL-15Rα; and (3) an intercellular microcirculation of IL-15, not detectable with ELISA kits, but displaying a role as an anti-apoptotic factor able to induce the deflection of the TNFR associated factor 2 (TRAF) to IL-15Rα. Our data point to a juxtacrine mechanism of action of IL-15 and suggest a role for IL-15/IL-15Rα in the regulation of apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-245
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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