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J Biol Chem. 1995 Sep 15;270(37):21606-11.

Cloning and expression of a long form of the beta subunit of the interferon alpha beta receptor that is required for signaling.

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Department of Pathology, University of Tennessee, Memphis 38163, USA.


The interferon alpha beta receptor (IFN alpha R) or type I IFN-R is formed by a 110-kDa alpha subunit or IFNAR and by a beta subunit, which has short and long forms (molecular masses of 55 and 95-100 kDa, respectively). In this report, we demonstrate that the IFN alpha/beta R cDNA recently cloned corresponds to the 55-kDa or short form of the beta subunit, while the 95-100-kDa species reported here corresponds to a longer form of the IFN alpha/beta R cDNA that is probably produced by alternative splicing of the same gene. Stable transfection of the alpha subunit with either form of the beta subunit results in the expression of low and high affinity receptors, while expression of either form of the beta subunit alone only produces low affinity receptors. More important, only expression of the alpha and long form of the human beta subunits in mouse L-929 cells reconstitutes the activation of the Jak kinases and the Stat factors, as well as the antiviral response to human type I IFNs.

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