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Nature. 1985 Feb 28-Mar 6;313(6005):803-6.

Cloning and expression in Escherichia coli of the gene for human tumour necrosis factor.


Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) was found originally in mouse serum after intravenous injection of bacterial endotoxin into mice primed with viable Mycobacterium bovis, strain Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG). TNF-containing serum from mice is cytotoxic or cytostatic to a number of mouse and human transformed cell lines, but less or not toxic to normal cells in vitro. It causes necrosis of transplantable tumours in mice. TNF also occurs in serum of rat, rabbit and guinea pig. Rabbit TNF has been purified recently to give a single band on SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE). The purified TNF had a relative molecular mass (Mr) 40,000 +/- 5,000 measured by gel filtration, and 17,000 by SDS-PAGE. Its isoelectric point is 5.0 +/- 0.3. The necrotic activity in vivo and the cytotoxicity in vitro are produced by the same substance. The gene encoding TNF has been identified in a human genomic DNA library using as a probe a cloned cDNA encoding a portion of rabbit TNF. The regions of this gene encoding an amino-acid sequence corresponding to mature TNF have been expressed in Escherichia coli and the product of this expression isolated in pure form and shown to produce necrosis of murine tumours in vivo.

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