, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 510-521

Production and action of interferon in HeLa cells

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In preliminary experiments it was found that UP mumps virus (obtained by serial undiluted passages in chick allantois) interfered in HeLa cells with polio types 1, 2, 3 and vaccinia viruses, but poorly if at all with adeno virus type 7. These findings led to studies of interference and interferon production by egg adapted mumps virus in HeLa cells. Polio virus type 1, was chosen as the challenge virus.

While active mumps virus (Enders strain) interfered poorly if at all, a suitable inactivation by heat or ultraviolet irradiation resulted in a strong interfering activity of the virus.

Exposure of HeLa cells to large doses of irradiated virus yielded an interfering factor with the same properties as interferon. Thus, it was not sedimented in one hour by about 50.000 x G, not inhibited by mumps immune serum, not absorbed by fowl red cells, but it was more readily destroyed by trypsin than was irradiated virus. Two lines of HeLa cells were used and both were capable of producing interferon. HeLa-interferon was active also when tested in other cells of human origin and interferon produced in primary human amniotic cells clearly was active also in HeLa cells.

The results are compared with those of other workers reporting that HeLa cells are incapable of producing interferon and/or that interferon is inactive in HeLa cells. The implications of these divergent findings are discussed.

Aided by a grant from Sigrid Jusélius Foundation.