Interleukin 15 receptor, alpha subunit

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Interleukin 15 receptor, alpha
Protein IL15RA PDB 2ers.png
PDB rendering based on 2ers.
Available structures
PDB Ortholog search: PDBe, RCSB
Symbols IL15RA ; CD215
External IDs OMIM601070 MGI104644 HomoloGene1650 IUPHAR: 1702 GeneCards: IL15RA Gene
RNA expression pattern
PBB GE IL15RA 207375 s at tn.png
More reference expression data
Species Human Mouse
Entrez 3601 16169
Ensembl ENSG00000134470 ENSMUSG00000023206
UniProt Q13261 Q60819
RefSeq (mRNA) NM_001243539 NM_001271497
RefSeq (protein) NP_001230468 NP_001258426
Location (UCSC) Chr 10:
5.99 – 6.02 Mb
Chr 2:
11.71 – 11.73 Mb
PubMed search [1] [2]

Interleukin 15 receptor, alpha subunit is a subunit of the interleukin 15 receptor that in humans is encoded by the IL15RA gene.[1]


The IL-15 receptor is composed of three subunits: IL-15R alpha, CD122, and CD132. Two of these subunits, CD122 and CD132, are shared with the receptor for IL-2, but IL-2 receptor has an additional subunit (CD25). The shared subunits contain the cytoplasmic motifs required for signal transduction, and this forms the basis of many overlapping biological activities of IL15 and IL2, although in vivo the two cytokines have separate biological effects. This may be due to effects of the respective alpha chains, which are unique to each receptor, the kinetics and affinity of cytokine-cytokine receptor binding, or due to the availability and concentration of each cytokine.


IL-15Ralpha specifically binds IL15 with very high affinity,[2] and is capable of binding IL-15 independently of other subunits. It is suggested that this property allows IL-15 to be produced by one cell, endocytosed by another cell, and then presented to a third party cell.[3]

This receptor is reported to enhance cell proliferation and expression of apoptosis inhibitor BCL2L1/BCL2-XL and BCL2. Multiple alternatively spliced transcript variants of this gene have been reported. The full length sequences of only two variants encoding distinct isoforms are available.[1]


Several isoforms of the IL-15Ralpha protein have been detected. These isoforms can either result from alternative splicing of the mRNA encoding for the receptor or by shedding of the extra cellular domain of the receptor protein.


  1. ^ a b EntrezGene 3601
  2. ^ Giri JG, Ahdieh M, Eisenman J, Shanebeck K, Grabstein K, Kumaki S et al. (1994). "Utilization of the beta and gamma chains of the IL-2 receptor by the novel cytokine IL-15". EMBO J. 13 (12): 2822–30. PMC 395163. PMID 8026467. 
  3. ^ Dubois S, Mariner J, Waldmann TA, Tagaya Y (2002). "IL-15Ralpha recycles and presents IL-15 In trans to neighboring cells". Immunity 17 (5): 537–47. doi:10.1016/s1074-7613(02)00429-6. PMID 12433361.  (primary source)

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