Functional classification of interferon-stimulated genes identified using microarrays

J Leukoc Biol. 2001 Jun;69(6):912-20.


Interferons (IFNs) are a family of multifunctional cytokines that activate transcription of subsets of genes. The gene products induced by IFNs are responsible for IFN antiviral, antiproliferative, and immunomodulatory properties. To obtain a more comprehensive list and a better understanding of the genes regulated by IFNs, we compiled data from many experiments, using two different microarray formats. The combined data sets identified >300 IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). To provide new insight into IFN-induced cellular phenotypes, we assigned these ISGs to functional categories. The data are accessible on the World Wide Web at, including functional categories and individual genes listed in a searchable database. The entries are linked to GenBank and Unigene sequence information and other resources. The goal is to eventually compile a comprehensive list of all ISGs. Recognition of the functions of the ISGs and their specific roles in the biological effects of IFNs is leading to a greater appreciation of the many facets of these intriguing and essential cytokines. This review focuses on the functions of the ISGs identified by analyzing the microarray data and focuses particularly on new insights into the protein kinase RNA-regulated (PRKR) protein, which have been made possible with the availability of PRKR-null mice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Chemokines / genetics
  • Databases, Factual*
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases / genetics
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Genes*
  • Growth Substances / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunity / genetics
  • Interferons / pharmacology
  • Interferons / physiology*
  • Internet
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis*
  • Phenotype
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Virus Diseases / genetics


  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Chemokines
  • Growth Substances
  • Transcription Factors
  • Interferons
  • GTP Phosphohydrolases