Interleukin-2 receptor alpha chain is a protein that in humans is encoded by the IL2RAgene.
The interleukin 2 (IL2) receptor alpha (IL2RA) and beta (IL2RB) chains, together with the common gamma chain (IL2RG), constitute the high-affinity IL2 receptor. Homodimeric alpha chains (IL2RA) result in low-affinity receptor, while homodimeric beta (IL2RB) chains produce a medium-affinity receptor. Normally an integral-membrane protein, soluble IL2RA has been isolated and determined to result from extracellular proteolyisis. Alternately-spliced IL2RA mRNAs have been isolated, but the significance of each is currently unknown.
Infection by the protozoanTrypanosoma cruzi causes Chagas disease, characterized by a reduction in the amount of IL2RA expressed on the surface of immune cells. This leads to chronic immune suppression, becoming increasingly severe over the course of many years and ultimately resulting in death if left untreated.
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