Human fibroblast cells treated with a combination of inhibitors of protein and RNA synthesis [cycloheximide and actinomycin D as used to superinduce interferon beta (IFN-beta)] secrete two proteins with molecular masses of 22000 and 27000 kilodaltons (called 22-kDal and 27-kDal) that are precipitable with an antiserum raised against impure IFN-beta but are antigenically distinct from IFN-beta 1. Translation in vitro of mRNA extracted from human fibroblast cells induced for the production of IFN-beta leads to the synthesis of a 26-kDal protein that is structurally closely related to the 22- and 27-kDal proteins. This 26-kDal protein mRNA is relatively abundant and also appears in human fibroblasts induced only with cycloheximide. It has been partially purified by sucrose gradient centrifugation and more extensively by diazobenzyloxymethyl-cellulose hybridization to plasmid DNA from a bacterial cDNA clone. When translated in an in vitro reticulocyte system supplemented with dog pancreas microsomes, the 26-kDal protein and two other intermediates corresponding presumably to its signal-cleaved (19-kDal) and partially glycosylated (24-kDal) forms were observed. Crude, partially purified, and highly purified 26-kDal mRNA failed to program the synthesis of antiviral or ppp(A2'p5')nA synthetase-inducing activity when translated in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Moreover, partially purified 22-kDal and 27-kDal (i.e., the in vivo equivalents of the 26-kDal protein) are also devoid of antiviral or ppp(A2'p5')nA synthetase-inducing activity. Hence, this 26-kDal mRNA, although presumably identical to the human IFN-beta 2 mRNA described by Weissenbach et al. [Weissenbach, J., Chernajovsky, Y., Zeevi, M., Shulman, K., Soreq, H., Nir. U., Wallach, D., Perricaudet, M., Tiollais, P. & Revel, M. (1980) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 77, 7152-7156], cannot be considered to be a fibroblast interferon mRNA.