Sequence determination of cloned cDNAs and genes of the three classes of interferon (IFN-alpha, -beta and -gamma) has revealed more than a dozen members of the human IFN-alpha gene family and a single gene for IFN-beta. These genes are found on chromosome 9 and contain no introns. We recently reported that the 146-amino acid sequence of mature IFN-gamma deduced from the nucleotide sequence of a cloned cDNA was quite unrelated to those of the other IFNs, and that the gene for IFN-gamma contains at least one intron. We now describe the isolation, characterization and DNA sequence of the human IFN-gamma gene. It contains three introns, a repetitive DNA element, and is not highly polymorphic. All our evidence to date and the present data suggest that this is the only gene for IFN-gamma and that the resolution of IFN-gamma into two components is probably the result of post-translational processing of the protein.

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