Shared receptor components but distinct complexes for alpha and beta interferons

Lewerenz, M.; Mogensen, K. E.; Uze, G.

Journal of molecular biology

1998-09-25 / vol 282 / pages 585-99


The type I interferon family includes 13 alpha, one omega and one beta subtypes recognized by a complex containing the receptor subunits ifnar1 and ifnar2 and their associated Janus tyrosine kinases, Tyk2 and Jak1. To investigate the reported differences in the way that alpha and beta interferons signal through the receptor, we introduced alanine-substitutions in the ifnar2 extracellular domain, and expressed the mutants in U5A cells, lacking endogenous ifnar2. A selection, designed to recover mutants that responded preferentially to alpha or beta interferon yielded three groups: I, neutral; II, sensitive to alpha interferon, partially resistant to beta interferon; III, resistant to alpha interferon, partially sensitive to beta interferon. A mutant clone, TMK, fully resistant to alpha interferon with good sensitivity to beta interferon, was characterized in detail and compared with U5A cells complemented with wild-type ifnar2 and also with Tyk2-deficient 11.1 cells, which exhibit a similar alpha-unresponsive phenotype with a partial beta interferon response. Using anti-receptor antibodies and mutant forms of beta interferon, three distinct modes of ligand interaction could be discerned: (i) alpha interferon with ifnar1 and ifnar2; (ii) beta interferon with ifnar1 and ifnar2; (iii) beta interferon with ifnar2 alone. We conclude that alpha and beta interferons signal differently through their receptors because the two ligand subtypes interact with the receptor subunits ifnar 1 and ifnar2 in entirely different ways.

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Humans; Amino Acid Sequence; Molecular Sequence Data; Cell Line; Mutation; Structure-Activity Relationship; Amino Acid Substitution; Mutagenesis, Site-Directed; Sequence Alignment; Binding Sites/genetics; Interferon Type I, Recombinant/genetics/*metabolism; Interferon-beta/genetics/*metabolism; Receptors, Interferon/chemistry/genetics/*metabolism; Signal Transduction/*genetics

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