Activation of transcription factors by interferon-alpha in a cell-free system

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Science  07 Aug 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5071, pp. 813-815
DOI: 10.1126/science.1496402


The signal transduction mechanisms of interferons (IFNs) remain unclear partly because no effect of IFN has been reproducible in a cell-free system. IFN-alpha rapidly induces the transcription of a set of early response genes, and a multicomponent transcriptional activator, interferon stimulated gene factor 3 (ISGF3), is activated within minutes after binding of IFN-alpha to its receptor. A system was developed in which IFN-alpha activated ISGF3 in homogenates of HeLa cells. Subcellular fractionation revealed that incubation of a plasma membrane-enriched fraction with IFN-alpha was sufficient to activate the regulatory subcomponent of ISGF3.