Expression of IL-15RA or an IL-15/IL-15RA fusion on CD8+ T cells modifies adoptively transferred T-cell function in cis

Jesse Rowley, Archana Monie, Chien Fu Hung, T. C. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


IL-15 and IL-15 receptor alpha (IL-15RA) play a significant role in multiple aspects of T-cell biology. However, given the evidence that IL-15RA can present IL-15 in trans, the functional capacity of IL-15RA expressed on CD8+ T cells to modify IL-15 functions in cis is currently unclear. In the current study, we explore the functional consequences of IL-15RA, expression on T cells using a novel method to transfect naive CD8+ T cells. We observed that RNA nucleofection led to highly efficient, non-toxic, and rapid manipulation of protein expression levels in unstimulated CD8+ T cells. We found that transfection of unstimulated CD8+ T cells with IL-15RA RNA led to enhanced viability of CD8+ T cells in response to IL-15. Transfection with IL-15RA enhanced IL-15-mediated phosphorylation of STAT5 and also promoted IL-15-mediated proliferation in vivo of adoptively transferred naïve CD8+ T cells. We demonstrated that IL-15RA can present IL-15 via cis-presentation on CD8+ T cells. Finally, we showed that transfection with a chimeric construct linking IL-15 to IL-15RA cell autonomously enhances the viability and proliferation of primary CD8+ T cells and cytotoxic potential of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. The clinical implications of the current study are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-506
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009


  • IL-15
  • IL-15 receptor alpha
  • RNA nucleofection
  • T-cell proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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