A cDNA clone complementary to an interferon (IFN)-induced mRNA approximately 3 kb in length was identified and sequenced revealing homology with the endoplasmic reticular heat shock protein/ATPase gp96. Both IFN-alpha and -gamma transcriptionally upregulate expression of this gene. gp96 transcripts, protein, and ATPase activity are shown to be enhanced as a result of IFN treatment in two human cell lines and this effect requires de novo protein synthesis. gp96 molecules have recently been implicated in the presentation of endogenous antigens. A number of the key elements in this pathway, the transporter proteins, the major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-linked units of the proteasomes and the MHC class I molecules are known to be IFN inducible. Our results show that yet another molecule suggested to play an accessory role in the endogenous presentation pathway is IFN inducible. Further, our studies represent the first demonstration of modulation of expression of a heat shock protein by a cytokine and identify a new enzymatic activity upregulated in IFN-treated cells.

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