Human interferon-α and interferon-β genes with their flanking regions were introduced into mouse LMTK cells. Although transfected cells contained the interferon genes with a similar copy number and produced a similar amount of interferon-specific mRNA, cells containing the human interferon-β gene secreted about 10 times more human interferon than cells transfected with the human interferon-α gene. When the coding region of the interferon-β gene was replaced by that of the interferon-α gene (hybrid interferon β/α gene), the human interferon production of transfected cells fell by approx. one order of magnitude. These results show that in the case of exogenous interferon genes a translational or post-translational mechanism might significantly affect the final level of human interferons, resulting in higher titres of interferon-β than of interferon-α.


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