Defining the distinct, intrinsic properties of the novel type I interferon, epsilon
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Interferons are important immune molecules which are usually species specific, but researchers have discovered a new class of interferon with cross-species activity which will be useful in lab studies of human disease.
at Deakin University investigated the structure and function of a recently
identified interferon, IFNε, found in the female
reproductive tract. The team produced mouse IFNε in cell cultures and measured
its ability to bind to interferon receptors and activate the interferon
IFNε bound to the
interferon receptors IFNAR1 and IFNAR2, but unlike other interferons, it bound
more strongly to IFNAR1. IFNε also activated the interferon response pathway
and had antiviral, antibacterial, and antiproliferative effects, though its
overall activity was weaker than other interferons. Surprisingly, mouse IFNε also
had antiviral activity in human cells.
In addition to clarifying the activity of IFNε, these
findings demonstrate its value as a tool for humanized mouse models of disease.
- Journal of Biological Chemistry 293, 3168-3179 (2017). doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.800755