Targeted disruption of IRF-1 or IRF-2 results in abnormal type I IFN gene induction and aberrant lymphocyte development.
Interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1), a transcriptional activator, and its antagonistic repressor, IRF-2, were originally identified as regulators of the type I interferon (IFN) system. We have generated mice deficient in either IRF-1 or IRF-2 by gene targeting in embryonic stem cells. IRF-1-deficient fibroblasts lacked the normally observed type I IFN induction by poly(I):poly(C), while they induced type I IFN to similar levels as the wild type following Newcastle disease virus (NDV) infection. In contrast, IRF-2-deficient fibroblasts showed up-regulated type I IFN induction by NDV infection. A profound reduction of TCR alpha beta+CD4-CD8+ T cells in IRF-1-deficient mice, with a thymocyte developmental defect, reveals a critical role for IRF-1 in T cell development. IRF-2-deficient mice exhibited bone marrow suppression of hematopoiesis and B lymphopoiesis and mortality following lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus infection.