The expression of interferon (IFN) receptors was studied on freshly isolated human lymphocytes from normal donors. Highly enriched populations of small resting T lymphocytes and large granular lymphocytes (LGL) were found to constitutively express high-affinity receptors for IFN-alpha and IFN-gamma. Both types of lymphocytes also had lower-affinity IFN-alpha binding sites. T lymphocytes had a mean of 230 IFN-alpha and 520 IFN-gamma high-affinity receptors per cell, whereas LGL had 520 IFN-alpha and 760 IFN-gamma receptors. However, because LGL were larger than the T lymphocytes, the IFN receptor density was similar on the two types of lymphocytes. The affinity of binding was similar on the two types of normal lymphocytes and on the cultured lymphoblastoid cell line Daudi. The number of IFN receptors per cell and the affinities of the IFN-receptor interactions varied little among the normal donors. Both the freshly isolated normal lymphocytes and the cultured cell line Daudi had separate receptors for type I (alpha and beta) and type II (gamma) IFN. Taken together, our data indicate that two types of freshly isolated normal lymphocytes constitutively express IFN receptors that are similar to those present on the lymphoblastoid cell line Daudi derived from a patient with Burkitt's lymphoma.

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