We have developed a selection protocol to isolate interferon (IFN)-sensitive subclones directly from an IFN-resistant cell population. The protocol uses encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV) as a selection agent in combination with pretreatment with low doses of IFN and subsequent growth in the presence of virus-neutralizing antiserum. We have applied this protocol to the partially IFN-resistant NIH 3T3 clone 1 line and have obtained a number of IFN-sensitive subclones. Sensitivity to IFN was restricted to protection against EMCV. Replication of vesicular stomatitis virus as well as cell growth were resistant to IFN treatment as in the original clone 1 line. We have compared levels of 2′,5′-oligoadenylate (2-5A) synthetase, dsRNA-activated protein kinase and 2-5A-dependent RNase in some IFN-sensitive subclones and found no difference from the resistant clone 1 cells. Markedly decreased levels of 2-5A-dependent RNase and thus a defective 2-5A pathway have been implicated as a possible cause for the partial resistance of clone 1 cells to IFN. Since the selected IFN-sensitive subclones are of the same phenotype in this respect as the clone 1 line we suggest that inhibition of EMCV in these lines occurs through a mechanism independent of the 2-5A system.


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