Interferon and Host Defense Systems

  • Howard M. Johnson
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 162)


Interferon (IFN) is defined as a protein(s) which exerts virus nonspecific, antiviral activity at least in homologous cells through cellular metabolic processes involving both RNA and protein synthesis (Reviewed in 1). Interferons are increasingly being recognized as having pleiotropic effects on cell function. These effects may be expressed in the form of anticellular, immunoregulatory, antitumor, and hormonal activities in addition to the well known antiviral activity. Interferon was discovered in 1957 by Isaacs and Lindenmann (2), and this discovery was based on its antiviral properties with a view toward understanding the nature of host defense against viral infections. In this overview we will attempt to convey the present day meaning of interferon in the context of its varied biological activities both at the cellular and molecular levels. Where appropriate, review articles will be cited, and these can serve as a source of original articles.


Spleen Cell Suppressor Cell Antiviral Protein Host Defense System Suppressor Cell Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard M. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology, Medical BranchThe University of TexasGalvestonUSA

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