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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Jun 6;92(12):5645-9.

Combinatorial association and abundance of components of interferon-stimulated gene factor 3 dictate the selectivity of interferon responses.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, New York University School of Medicine, New York 10016, USA.


Genes containing the interferon-stimulated response element (ISRE) enhancer have been characterized as transcriptionally responsive primarily to type I interferons (IFN alpha/beta). Induction is due to activation of a multimeric transcription factor, interferon-stimulated gene factor 3 (ISGF3), which is activated by IFN alpha/beta but not by IFN gamma. We found that ISRE-containing genes were induced by IFN gamma as well as by IFN alpha in Vero cells. The IFN gamma response was dependent on the ISRE and was accentuated by preexposure of cells to IFN alpha, a treatment that increases the abundance of ISGF3 components. Overexpression of ISGF3 polypeptides showed that the IFN gamma response depended on the DNA-binding protein ISGF3 gamma (p48) as well as on the 91-kDa protein STAT91 (Stat1 alpha). The transcriptional response to IFN alpha required the 113-kDa protein STAT113 (Stat2) in addition to STAT91 and p48. Mutant fibrosarcoma cells deficient in each component of ISGF3 were used to confirm that IFN gamma induction of an ISRE reporter required p48 and STAT91, but not STAT113. A complex containing p48 and phosphorylated STAT91 but lacking STAT113 bound the ISRE in vitro. IFN gamma-induced activation of this complex, preferentially formed at high concentrations of p48 and STAT91, may explain some of the overlapping responses to IFN alpha and IFN gamma.

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