Many poxvirus-encoded virulence factors have been identified as proteins that are secreted from infected cells. The major secreted protein (37 kilodaltons) from cells infected with myxoma virus is encoded by the M-T7 open reading frame. This protein has significant sequence similarity to the human and mouse receptors for interferon-gamma (IFN-γ). Furthermore, the myxoma M-T7 protein specifically binds rabbit IFN-γ and inhibits the biological activity of extracellular IFN-γ, one of the key regulatory cytokines in the host immune response against viral infections.
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