The effect of interferon on expression of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) early gene functions was investigated. The ‘early antigen’ synthesis which follows either EBV superinfection of established lymphoid cell lines or 5′-iododeoxyuridine activation of the intrinsic EBV genomes harboured by these cells could be suppressed with interferon. In contrast, the spontaneous early antigen expression that occurs in a few per cent of the cells in the producer cell lines could not be blocked with interferon.

The lymphoid cell lines tested differed in their ability to acquire an antiviral state after exposure to interferon. Several cell lines were also growth inhibited by the interferon preparations. The antiviral and growth inhibitory activities of different interferon preparations could not be separated by a number of criteria.


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