Somatic cell genetic analysis of the interferon system : (interferon genetics, interferon receptors , cell hybrids )
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The interferon system is amenable to somatic cell genetic analysis since the genes governing the synthesis of interferon and the cellular responses to interferon can be expressed in tissue culture cells. Limited species specificity exists in the interferon system, allowing interspecific hybrid cells to be used in mapping genes involved in interferon production and mechanism of action. The synthesis of interferon and the attainment of the antiviral state following interferon treatment are separate genetic functions, governed by genes on different chromosomes. Three different human chromosomes have been implicated in the production of human fibroblast interferon based on studies using interspecific somatic cell hybrids. The recent cloning of multiple interferon gene sequences will provide probes for further gene mapping. Genes governing sensitivity of cells to interferon have been mapped to human chromosome 21 and mouse chromosome 16. When human/mouse somatic cell hybrids are injected into mice of the same strain as the murine parent of the hybrid, antibodies directed against cell surface components coded by the retained human chromosomes are produced. Antibodies raised against human chromosome 21-coded cell surface determinants can block human interferon action on human fibroblasts, presumably by blocking a human interferon receptor. Monoclonal antibodies against this receptor can be produced and used to study the role of receptors in interferon action.