Activation of 2-5A-dependent ribonuclease by 5'-phosphorylated, 2',5'-linked oligoadenylates, known as 2-5A, is one pathway of interferon action. Unaided uptake into HeLa cells of 2-5A linked to an antisense oligonucleotide resulted in the selective ablation of messenger RNA for the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-dependent protein kinase PKR. Similarly, purified, recombinant human 2-5A-dependent ribonuclease was induced to selectively cleave PKR messenger RNA. Cells depleted of PKR activity were unresponsive to activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappa B) by the dsRNA poly(I):poly(C), which provides direct evidence that PKR is a transducer for the dsRNA signaling of NF-kappa B.