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Biochim Biophys Acta. 1991 Jun 13;1089(2):167-74.

Human interferon omega 1: isolation of the gene, expression in Chinese hamster ovary cells and characterization of the recombinant protein.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Ernst Boehringer--Institut für Arzneimittelforschung, Bender + Co Ges mbH, Vienna, Austria.


A gene encoding human interferon omega-1 (IFN-omega 1) was isolated from a cosmid library, sequenced and expressed in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells under the control of an SV40-derived promoter/enhancer sequence. Culture supernatants of stably transfected cell clones contained biologically active IFN-omega 1 at concentrations up to 10 micrograms/l. Amplification of the expression vector containing a dhfr gene under methotrexate selection pressure resulted in yields up to 200 micrograms/l. Production of IFN-omega 1 was further enhanced 2- to 3-fold by propagation of the cells in the presence of n-butyrate. IFN-omega 1 was purified from culture supernatants by monoclonal antibody affinity chromatography. The resulting protein was at least 95% pure as determined by reverse-phase HPLC and size-exclusion HPLC. Sodium dodecylsulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) showed two bands of about the same intensity with apparent molecular masses of 24.5 and 22.5 kDa. Upon treatment with peptide:N-glycosidase F, both bands were shifted to lower molecular masses (20.5 and 18.5 kDa), indicating that CHO cell-derived IFN-omega 1 is glycosylated; Asn-78 was identified as the glycosylation site. Analysis of the carbohydrate moiety using glycosidases and lectins revealed the presence of biantennary complex oligosaccharides containing neuraminic acid. Amino acid sequencing showed that only about 40% of the molecules have the expected N-terminus, whereas the others carry two additional amino acids derived from the signal sequence. C-terminal amino acid sequencing using carboxypeptidase P demonstrated that the smaller form of the protein lacks nine amino acids. Disulfide bridges were shown to connect Cys residues 1 and 99 as well as 29 and 139, respectively, as in IFN-alpha. The specific antiviral activity of recombinant, glycosylated human IFN-omega 1 on human cells was 2.6 x 10(8) IU/mg, not significantly different from that of the authentic, human leukocyte-derived protein.

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