The expression of interleukin 2 receptor (IL-2R) on leukemic cells of natural killer (NK) and T cell lineages in two patients with large granular lymphocytic (LGL) leukemia was examined. The p55 Tac IL-2R was not detected by the indirect immunofluorescence method and it did not participate in the IL-2 binding to the surface of these cells. However, these leukemic cells proliferated in a IL-2 dose-dependent manner and expressed p55. A p75 IL-2 receptor (IL-2-R) subunit was detected on the LGL leukemic cells of both NK and T lineages in a crosslink assay. Thus, it is suggested that the primary signal of IL-2 is mediated by the p75 alone. A study of the inhibitions of the proliferative response of LGL leukemia cells by anti-Tac revealed that both p75 and secondarily induced p55 are required for the cell proliferation.