Temperature is a powerful promoter of interleukin 2 transcription

James E. Gern, John R. Jayman, Lisa I. Goldberg, Patrick A. Murphy, Howard M. Lederman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Elevated temperature has profound effects on the immune system, particularly by increasing T-cell proliferation rates, interleukin 1 (IL-1)-driven secretion of IL-2, and primary antibody responses to T-dependent antigens. Therefore, this study shows, in detail, the effects of incubation temperature (29°C to 41°C) on proliferation, IL-2 secretion, and IL-2 mRNA expression in both a murine thymoma cell line (EL4-6.1) and in nontransformed murine splenocytes. Temperature was found to be a positive regulator of IL-2 secretion whether or not IL-1 was part of the activation signal. Parallel effects were observed at the level of IL-2 gene expression. Messenger RNA was quantitated with a novel system, using solution hybridization followed by detection of RNA-DNA complexes by enzyme immunoassay. The time to onset of IL-2 mRNA expression was inversely related to temperature, and mRNA levels increased 20- to 50-fold with increases in average incubation temperature from 29°C to 39°C. This effect was observed whether cells were incubated at constant temperature or exposed intermittently to elevated temperature. Over the same intervals of time and temperature, mRNA levels for τ-actin and β-tubulin remained relatively constant. Taken together, these findings suggest that temperature-mediated augmentation of IL-2 secretion does not require the presence of IL-1, and that the effect occurs at a pretranslational level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-397
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1991


  • IL-2
  • temperature
  • transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Biochemistry
  • Hematology
  • Molecular Biology


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