The type IV IFN (IFN-υ) is reported in vertebrates from fish to primary mammals with IFN-υR1 and IL-10R2 as receptor subunits. In this study, the proximal promoter of IFN-υ was identified in the amphibian model, Xenopus laevis, with functional IFN-sensitive responsive element and NF-κB sites, which can be transcriptionally activated by transcription factors, such as IFN regulatory factor (IRF)1, IRF3, IRF7, and p65. It was further found that IFN-υ signals through the classical IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) factor 3 (ISGF3) to induce the expression of ISGs. It seems likely that the promoter elements of the IFN-υ gene in amphibians is similar to type III IFN genes, and that the mechanism involved in IFN-υ induction is very much similar to type I and III IFNs. Using recombinant IFN-υ protein and the X. laevis A6 cell line, >400 ISGs were identified in the transcriptome, including ISGs homologous to humans. However, as many as 268 genes were unrelated to human or zebrafish ISGs, and some of these ISGs were expanded families such as the amphibian novel TRIM protein (AMNTR) family. AMNTR50, a member in the family, was found to be induced by type I, III, and IV IFNs through IFN-sensitive responsive element sites of the proximal promoter, and this molecule has a negative role in regulating the expression of type I, III, and IV IFNs. It is considered that the current study contributes to the understanding of transcription, signaling, and functional aspects of type IV IFN at least in amphibians.

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