A purine analogue, 2-aminopurine, reported to act as an inhibitor of protein kinase, selectively, reversibly and in a dose-dependent manner blocked a very early stage in interferon induction. With chick embryo cells and mouse L cells as hosts, and different viral inducers of interferon, maximal effects of 2-aminopurine were observed during the first 4 h of induction. At 10 m-2-aminopurine there was a 20-fold reduction in the yield of interferon from both cell types. 2-Aminopurine and actinomycin D both prevented interferon induction with the same time course, indicating a transcriptional block to induction; however, only the action of the former was reversed upon removal of the drug. Addition of 2-aminopurine to an agarose overlay resulted in high efficiency plaque formation by vesicular stomatitis virus New Jersey (Hazelhurst) under conditions where endogenous induction of interferon and its feedback action on aged chick embryo cells normally prevented plaque formation. Two other inducible systems, representing genes involved in interferon action (both its development and activation), and those of heat shock, were not affected by 2-aminopurine. A model is presented implicating the interferon-inducible dsRNA-dependent protein kinase as an interferon induction receptor which, on interaction with dsRNA, generates an amplified signal via phosphorylation that ultimately derepresses the interferon gene(s).

Keyword(s): 2-aminopurine , interferon and RNA, ds

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