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Virology. 1992 May;188(1):114-21.

Expression of authentic vaccinia virus-specific and inserted viral and cellular genes under control of an early vaccinia virus promoter is regulated post-transcriptionally in interferon-treated chick embryo fibroblasts.

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Institute of Virology and Immunobiology, University of Würzburg, Germany.


The interferon sensitivity of the expression of an influenza-virus hemagglutinin (HA) gene cloned into the thymidine kinase (TK) gene of vaccinia virus was studied in chick embryo fibroblasts (CEF) and Madin-Darby bovine kidney (MDBK) cells. In CEF, the expression of the HA gene is inhibited by pretreatment of cells with homologous interferon. In MDBK cells, on the other hand, expression of the HA is not impaired by pretreatment with human interferon-alpha, and the synthesis of early vaccinia virus enzymes was also unaffected. These results indicate that the interferon sensitivity of HA gene expression is at least in part controlled by flanking regions of vaccinia virus DNA. In this report, we also address the question whether the expression of an influenza virus HA gene and the human histone H1 zero gene under control of a vaccinia virus immediate early promoter is affected in interferon-treated CEF by a post-transcriptional mechanism in the same way as the expression of the viral TK gene. In interferon-treated cells mRNA synthesis specific for all these genes was enhanced. Steady state mRNA levels 6 hr p.i. were, however, lower than the amounts expected from the rate of mRNA synthesis during the first 6 hr p.i., suggesting that part of the viral RNA was degraded. Degradation resistant mRNA accumulated in the interferon-treated cells in an amount comparable to that found in infected CEF. This RNA could be translated into viral protein in a cell-free system. Therefore the degradation of viral mRNA cannot solely be responsible for the inhibition of viral protein synthesis in interferon-treated cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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