Cloning of a new cytokine that induces IFN-γ production by T cells


THE mechanism underlying the differentiation of CD4+ T cells into functionally distinct subsets (Thl and Th2) is incompletely understood1–3, and hitherto unidentified cytokines may be required for the functional maturation of these cells4. Here we report the cloning of a recently identified IFN-γ-inducing factor (IGIF) that augments natural killer (NK) activity in spleen cells5,6. The gene encodes a precursor protein of 192 amino acids and a mature protein of 157 amino acids, which have no obvious similarities to any peptide in the databases. Messenger RNAs for IGIF and interleukin-12 (IL-12) are readily detected in Kupffer cells and activated macrophages. Recombinant IGIF induces IFN-γ more potently than does IL-12, apparently through a separate pathway. Administration of anti-IGIF antibodies prevents liver damage in mice inoculated with Propionibacterium acnes and challenged with lipopolysaccharide, which induces toxic shock. IGIF may be involved in the development of Thl cells and also in mechanisms of tissue injury in inflammatory reactions.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Mosmann, T. R. & Coffman, R. L. A. Rev. Immun. 7, 145–173 (1989).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Scott, P. Science 260, 496–497 (1993).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Le-Gros, G. S., Ben-Sasson, S. Z., Seder, R., Finkelman, F. D. & Paul, W. E. J. exp. Med. 172, 921–929 (1990).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Locksley, R. M. Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.SA. 90, 5879–5880 (1993).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Nakamura, K., Okamura, H., Nagata, K., Komatsu, T. & Tamura, T. Infect. Immun. 61, 64–70 (1993).

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Okamura, H. et al. Infect. Immun. (in the press).

  7. 7

    Ferluga, J. & Allison, A. C. Lancet 661–662 (1978).

  8. 8

    Tsutsui, H., Mizoguchi, Y. & Morisawa, S. Hepato-gastroenterology 39, 553–559 (1992).

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Wysocka, M. et al. Eur. J. Immun. 25, 672–676 (1995).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Karasuyama, H., Tohyama, N. & Tada, T. J. exp. Med. 196, 13–25 (1989).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Eyhorn, S. et al. J. Hepatol. 6, 23–35 (1988).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Chomczynski, P. & Sacchi, L. Analyt. Biochem. 162, 156–159 (1987).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Wynn, T. A., Eltoum, I., Oswald, I. P., Cheever, A. W. & Sher, A. J. Expl Med. 179, 1551–1561 (1994).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Okamura, H., Tsutsui, H., Komatsu, T. et al. Cloning of a new cytokine that induces IFN-γ production by T cells. Nature 378, 88–91 (1995).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing