The interleukin 2 receptor (IL-2R) consists of at least two subunits, alpha and beta, both of which can bind interleukin 2 (IL-2). Recent studies have demonstrated the existence of a third subunit, a 64-kDa molecule termed IL-2R gamma chain, and have suggested that gamma chain functions to regulate the rate of IL-2 dissociation from the receptor. In the present report we have addressed whether the gamma chain modulates IL-2R affinity by contributing contact sites for IL-2 binding. Using reagents that allow the IL-2R complex to be immunoprecipitated through the IL-2 molecule itself, we demonstrate the existence of a stable IL-2-IL-2R gamma-chain complex. These studies thus establish that the IL-2R gamma chain directly contributes to the IL-2-binding site, consistent with the hypothesis that gamma chain influences IL-2R affinity through its direct interaction with IL-2.