The murine Mx1 gene confers specific resistance against influenza in the inbred A2G mice and in vitro have been shown to be inducible with type I but not type II interferons. Contrary to expectation, we found by in situ hybridisation widespread Mx1 expression along the epithelia of the gastrointestinal, uterine and respiratory tracts in uninduced A2G mice. Several lines of evidence, including further enhancement of Mx1 expression during organ culture and gnotobiotic mice analyses, indicated that this apparent constitutive epithelial Mx1 expression was a locally induced response to stimuli present in the respective lumina. This phenomenon may be a feature found in other interferon-inducible and interferon genes.

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