2-5A-dependent RNase is the terminal factor in the interferon-regulated 2-5A system thought to function in both the molecular mechanism of interferon action and in the general control of RNA stability. However, direct evidence for specific functions of 2-5A-dependent RNase has been generally lacking. Therefore, we developed a strategy to block the 2-5A system using a truncated form of 2-5A-dependent RNase which retains 2-5A binding activity while lacking RNase activity. When the truncated RNase was stably expressed to high levels in murine cells, it prevented specific rRNA cleavage in response to 2-5A transfection and the cells were unresponsive to the antiviral activity of interferon alpha/beta for encephalomyocarditis virus. Remarkably, cells expressing the truncated RNase were also resistant to the antiproliferative activity of interferon. The truncated RNase is a dominant negative mutant that binds 2-5A and that may interfere with normal protein-protein interactions through nine ankyrin-like repeats.
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