Difference between Type I and Type II Interferons (INF Alpha/Beta vs INF Gamma)

Type I vs Type II Interferons

Interferons or INFs are glycoproteins with indirect antiviral properties. They are cytokines whose production in the cell is induced by viral infections. Interferons stimulate the synthesis of antiviral proteins in the cells which inhibit the multiplication of viral particles.  

Learn more: Interferons: Definition, Properties, Antiviral Properties and Clinical Uses

Interferons are classified into TWO categories based on their type of Receptors. They are Type I Interferons (INFα and INFβ) and Type II Interferons (INFγ). The present post describes the Similarities and Differences between Type I and Type II interferons.

Type I vs Type II Interferons

Similarities between Type I and Type II Interferons

Ø  Both type I and type II interferons are short glyco-proteins.

Ø  Both possess indirect antiviral properties.

Ø  The production of both types of interferons is triggered by viral infections.

Ø  Both can elicit immunological responses in the organ.

Ø  Both types operate through receptors present on the plasma membrane.

Ø  Both can trigger the production of antiviral proteins.

Difference between Type I and Type II Interferons

Sl. No.Type I InterferonsType II Interferons
1Example: INFα and INFβExample: INFγ
2Genes for the Type I interferons are located in chromosome 9 (human)Genes for Type II interferons are located in chromosome 12.
3Type I interferons are produced by all type of cells particularly fibroblasts, macrophages and dendritic cellsType II interferons are produced by Natural Killer Cells (NK) and T Helper Cells-1 (Th-1)
4Production of Type I interferon is stimulated by viruses and bacteriaProduction of Type II interferon is stimulated by antigen stimulated T cells.
5Type I interferon increase the expression of Class I MHC complexType II interferon can increase the expression of both Class I and Class II MHC.
6Type I interferons inhibits cell proliferationType II interferons activates macrophages

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