Review of recent developments in the molecular characterization of recombinant alfa interferons on the 40th anniversary of the discovery of interferon

Mark R. Walter, Ronald Bordens, Tattanahalli L. Nagabhushan, Bryan R.G. Williams, Ronald B. Herberman, Charles A. Dinarello, Ernest C. Borden, Paul P. Trotta, Sidney Pestka, Lawrence M. Pfeffer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Recombinant alfa interferons (IFN-αs) are approved worldwide for the treatment of a variety of cancers and diseases of virologic origin. A series of recent advances in the molecular characterization of recombinant IFN-αs have allowed the determination of the three-dimensional IFN-α(2b) structure by high-resolution x-ray crystallography. We review here recent developments in our understanding of the molecular and physicochemical properties of recombinant IFN-α, including our current state of knowledge of the IFN-α gene family and the multiple species of human leukocyte IFN. Based on the reported three-dimensional structure of IFN-α(2b) we propose a molecular model for the IFN-α(2b) receptor complex and predict models for the naturally occurring subtypes IFN-α1 and lFN-α8, as well as the synthetic, non-naturally occurring consensus IFN. Such models provide molecular insights into the mechanism of action of IFN-α.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-154
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Biotherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Antiviral activity
  • Bioassay
  • Consensus interferon
  • Genes
  • Physicochemical properties
  • Receptor
  • Three-dimensional structure

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