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Nature. 1993 Nov 11;366(6451):166-70.

Complementation by the protein tyrosine kinase JAK2 of a mutant cell line defective in the interferon-gamma signal transduction pathway.

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Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, UK.


Interferons (IFNs) alpha/beta (type I) and gamma (type II) bind to distinct cell surface receptors, inducing transcription of overlapping sets of genes by intracellular pathways that have recently attracted much attention. Previous studies using cell lines selected for their inability to respond to IFN-alpha (ref. 4) have shown that the protein kinase Tyk2 plays a central role in the IFN alpha/beta response. Here we report the isolation of the cell line gamma 1A, selected for its inability to express IFN-gamma-inducible cell-surface markers, that is deficient in all aspects of the IFN-gamma response tested, but responds normally to IFNs alpha and beta. The mutant cells can be complemented by the expression of another member of the JAK family of protein tyrosine kinases, JAK2 (refs 6-9). Unlike IFNs alpha and beta, IFN-gamma induces rapid tyrosine phosphorylation of JAK2 in wild-type cells, and JAK2 immunoprecipitates from these cells show tyrosine kinase activity. These responses are absent in gamma 1A cells. JAK2 is therefore required for the response to IFN-gamma but not to IFNs alpha and beta.

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