Evidence that IFN-gamma does not affect MHC class II gene expression at the post-transcriptional level in a mouse macrophage cell line

Michael J. Kern, P. Michael Stuart, Kathy W. Omer, Jerold G. Woodward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Mouse class II major histocompatibility complex genes have been shown to be regulated at the level of transcription for both tissue-specific and inducible expression. In particular, IFN-gamma induction of the class II genes has been shown to occur at the transcriptional level, although the role that additional post-transcriptional mechanisms of regulation may play in this induction is not known. To evaluate IFN-gamma effects on transcriptional and post-transcriptional events of class II gene expression, we examined the rate of decline of class II transcription, steady-state mRNA, and cell surface protein following the removal of IFN-gamma from maximally stimulated WEHI-3 cells (an IFN-gamma inducible, myelomonocytic cell line). We determined that transcription of class II genes almost completely returned to baseline levels eight hours after removal of IFN-gamma. However, the steady-state level of class II mRNA's required 4 days, and membrane Ia expression required 5 days to return to baseline levels. This decay was linear and allowed us to determine a half-life value of 16-20 h for class II transcripts. These data demonstrate that, following removal of IFN-gamma from fully stimulated cells, transcription of the class II genes declined rapidly, but mRNA was quite long-lived. We also assessed the class II mRNA stability in unstimulated WEHI-3 cells and the B-cell lymphoma, A20/2J, by actinomycin D treatment and northern blot analysis. In agreement with the IFN-gamma washout experiments, transcripts from all four class II genes were quite long-lived in these cell types, with a half-life greater than ten hours. These data support the concept that IFN-gamma acts primarily at the level of class II transcription and argues against IFN-gamma playing a major role in post-transcriptional modulation of class II expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-265
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Genetics


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