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Eur J Biochem. 2000 Jul;267(13):4011-9.

Proteome analysis reveals ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes to be a new family of interferon-alpha-regulated genes.

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Turku Centre for Biotechnology, BioCity, Turku, Finland; National Public Health Institute, Department of Virology, Helsinki, Finland.


Interferon (IFN)-alpha is a cytokine with antiviral, antiproliferative, and immunomodulatory properties, the functions of which are mediated via IFN-induced protein products. We used metabolic labeling and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by MS and database searches to identify potentially new IFN-alpha-induced proteins in human T cells. By this analysis, we showed that IFN-alpha induces the expression of ubiquitin cross-reactive protein (ISG15) and two ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes, UbcH5 and UbcH8. Northern-blot analysis showed that IFN-alpha rapidly enhances mRNA expression of UbcH5, UbcH6 and UbcH8 in T cells. In addition, these genes were induced in macrophages in response to IFN-alpha or IFN-gamma stimulation or influenza A or Sendai virus infections. Similarly, IFNs enhanced UbcH8 mRNA expression in A549 lung epithelial cells, HepG2 hepatoma cells, and NK-92 cells. Cycloheximide, a protein synthesis inhibitor, did not block IFN-induced upregulation of UbcH8 mRNA expression, suggesting that UbcH8 is the primary target gene for IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma. Ubiquitin conjugation is a rate-limiting step in antigen presentation and therefore the upregulation of UbcHs by IFNs may contribute to the enhanced antigen presentation by macrophages. Our results show that proteome analysis of cells is a suitable method for identifying previously unrecognized cytokine-inducible genes.

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