We report that 5 of 19 human malignant glioma cell lines have neither interferon α (IFNA) nor interferon β (IFNB) genes that are detectable by Southern blotting. Of 5 other of these malignant glioma lines that have a single IFNB gene copy, 3 lack the IFNA genes entirely and two have one copy. One of the lines that lacks the IFNA genes entirely but has one copy of the IFNB gene has a rearrangement near the IFNB gene that is most easily interpreted as an insertion of a large segment of DNA (at least 50 kilobases) the 3′ end of which is <1.3 kilobases 5′ to the known regulatory sequences of the IFNB gene. In spite of the rearrangement, IFNB-specific RNA is highly inducible in this line by poly(I)-poly(C). The ability of interferon α or interferon β to inhibit cell growth does not depend upon the presence or absence of the respective gene. This finding adds solid tumors to those tumor cell lines (acute lymphocytic leukemia, chronic myelogeneous leukemia) previously determined to lack the IFNA and IFNB genes (Diaz et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 85: 5259–5263, 1988).


This study was supported by an Establishment/Scholarship Grant from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) to R. Day and AHFMR and Alberta Cancer Board fellowships to J. Miyakoshi.

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