The characteristics of interferon binding to various cells with different interferon sensitivity were studied by using [3H]leucine-labeled, pure human interferon alpha from Namalwa cells. Scatchard analysis of the binding data on cells sensitive to interferon alpha (human FL and fibroblasts and bovine MDBK) indicated the presence of two kinds of binding sites with high and low affinities. The binding constants of the high-affinity sites in these cells were similar (4 X 10(10) to 11 X 10(10) M-1). Cells insensitive to human interferon alpha (human HEC-1 and mouse L cells) were shown to have only low-affinity sites, suggesting that high-affinity binding sites are indispensable for interferon sensitivity and represent interferon receptors. However, the number of sites in three human diploid fibroblast strains and one strain trisomic for chromosome 21 were not proportionally correlated to the interferon sensitivity of the cells. The high-affinity binding to human cells was completely inhibited by both nonradioactive human interferons alpha and beta in a similar manner, but binding to bovine MDBK cells, on which human interferon beta is practically inactive, was inhibited effectively only by interferon alpha and not by beta. These results suggest that the receptor for human interferon alpha is common to human interferon beta in human cells, whereas the receptor on bovine cells binds only human interferon alpha
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