Recombinant human interferon (IFN) ω1 (IFN-α1) was compared with other human IFNs with regard to antigenic structure, using polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies. Antisera to recombinant IFN-α1 or IFN-α2c cross-neutralized the antiviral activity of other species of IFN-α, but not that of IFN-ω1. Antisera to IFN-β or IFN-γ likewise had no effect on IFN-ω1. Conversely, antiserum to IFN-ω1 did not neutralize any of the other IFNs examined (IFN-α1, -α2c, -α10, -αB, -αF, -β, -γ). None of four monoclonal antibodies to IFN-α, including a broad-spectrum antibody that neutralized all five recombinant species of IFN-α tested, had any effect on the biological activity of IFN-ω1. Various immunoassays for IFN-α did not recognize IFN-ω1. In immunoprecipitation experiments, radiolabelled IFN-α2c was not precipitated by antiserum to IFN-ω1. In contrast, antisera to human leukocyte IFN or ‘lymphoblastoid’ IFN did neutralize IFN-ω1, although with titres significantly lower than those towards the immunogen or recombinant species of IFN-α. In conclusion, human IFN-ω1 is antigenically different from human IFN-α, IFN-β or IFN-γ, but is a component of ‘natural’ mixtures of IFN species produced by virus-induced leukocytes or Burkitt's lymphoma cells.


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