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Genes Dev. 1995 Jan 1;9(1):15-30.

Identification of a novel serine/threonine kinase and a novel 15-kD protein as potential mediators of the gamma interferon-induced cell death.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and Virology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


Programmed cell death is often triggered by the interaction of some cytokines with their cell surface receptors. Here, we report that gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) induced in HeLa cells a type of cell death that had cytological characteristics of programmed cell death. In this system we have identified two novel genes whose expression was indispensable for the execution of this type of cell death. The rescue was based on positive growth selection of cells after transfection with antisense cDNA expression libraries. The antisense RNA-mediated inactivation of the two novel genes protected the cells from the IFN-gamma-induced cell death but not from the cytostatic effects of the cytokine or from a necrotic type of cell death. One of those genes (DAP-1) is expressed as a single 2.4-kb mRNA that codes for a basic, proline-rich, 15-kD protein. The second is transcribed into a single 6.3-kb mRNA and codes for a unique 160-kD calmodulin-dependent serine/threonine kinase (DAP kinase) that carries eight ankyrin repeats. The expression levels of the two DAP proteins were selectively reduced by the corresponding antisense RNAs. Altogether, it is suggested that these two novel genes are candidates for positive mediators of programmed cell death that is induced by IFN-gamma.

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