* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received May 16, 2012; Revision received June 2, 2012
In this paper we report the discovery of bacteriolytic activity of an immune system cytokine mediator, interleukin-2. Bacteriolytic activity of interleukin-2 was compared with a well-known bacteriolytic enzyme – chicken egg white lysozyme – by monitoring the lysis of the Gram-negative bacterium Escherichia coli, the Gram-positive coccus Micrococcus luteus, and the Gram-positive spore-forming bacillus Bacillus subtilis. It was found that interleukin-2 has greater specificity to the Gram-negative bacterium E. coli than does lysozyme. In contrast to chicken egg white lysozyme, interleukin-2 does not lyse the Gram-positive coccus M. luteus and the Gram-positive spore-forming bacillus B. subtilis. These results give a new understanding of the biological functions of interleukin-2, a regulatory protein that plays a role in oncological and infectious diseases.
KEY WORDS: interleukin-2, bacteriolytic activity, Escherichia coli