Molecular Basis of Interferon Action

  • Jean Content
  • Martine Verhaegen-Lewalle
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 44)


Interferon was discovered 24 years ago by Isaacs and Lindenmann (1957). Allantoic fluid from chick embryonated egg previously inoculated with inactivated influenza virus contained an antiviral activity detectable when transferred to fresh cells. This potent activity was pH 2 resistant, inactivated by trypsin, and not sedimentable at 100,000 x g. This substance was rapidly found to have important other properties: it had a broad spectrum of antiviral activity i.e. it was active against most animal viruses; it was species specific and was relatively non toxic. All these fundamental properties have been amended recently (section 7 and 10) although the basic observations remain essentially true. Extension of these early observations to other animal systems have led to considerable development of interferon research in several directions. It is widely recognized now that the antiviral activity of interferon (IFN), which led to its discovery, is only the “visible part of an iceberg”, since IFN has a large spectrum of other activities (Stewart II, 1979b; De Clercq, 1980): it can exert an anticellular activity, or antitumour activity


Antiviral Activity Ehrlich Ascites Tumor Cell Antiviral State Interferon Action Inactivate Influenza Virus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Content
    • 1
  • Martine Verhaegen-Lewalle
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut Pasteur du BrabantBrusselsBelgium

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