We have designed a ribozyme (Rz) that cleaves human interleukin-6 (IL- 6) mRNA in vivo. This Rz was tested in vitro, and was found to give expected size fragments. It was then incorporated into a mammalian expression vector containing the constitutive cytomegalovirus (CMV) immediate early promoter and transfected into human U amniotic cells (UAC). Cell clones that stably express this catalytic RNA have been obtained. Some of them displayed a marked reduction of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-induced IL-6 production. Their reduced ability to express IL-6 was related to the amount of Rz they produced and to the extent of IL-6 mRNA cleavage as observed by a ribonuclease protection assay. These data provide a method to study further the role of IL-6 production in various biologic situations, and suggest the feasibility of developing Rzs directed against various cytokines to study their biologic role and mechanism of action.

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