The presence of DNA in the cytoplasm of mammalian cells is a danger signal that triggers the host immune responses such as the production of type-I interferons (IFN). Cytosolic DNA induces IFN through the production of cyclic-GMP-AMP (cGAMP), which binds to and activates the adaptor protein STING. Through biochemical fractionation and quantitative mass spectrometry, we identified a cGAMP synthase (cGAS), which belongs to the nucleotidyltransferase family. Overexpression of cGAS activated the transcription factor IRF3 and induced IFNβ in a STING-dependent manner. Knockdown of cGAS inhibited IRF3 activation and IFNβ induction by DNA transfection or DNA virus infection. cGAS bound to DNA in the cytoplasm and catalyzed cGAMP synthesis. These results indicate that cGAS is a cytosolic DNA sensor that induces interferons by producing the second messenger cGAMP.
Early T-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ETP ALL) is an aggressive malignancy of unknown genetic basis. We performed whole-genome sequencing of 12 ETP ALL cases and assessed the frequency of the identified somatic mutations in 94 T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia cases. ETP ALL was characterized by activating mutations in genes regulating cytokine receptor and RAS signalling (67% of cases; NRAS, KRAS, FLT3, IL7R, JAK3, JAK1, SH2B3 and BRAF), inactivating lesions disrupting haematopoietic development (58%; GATA3, ETV6, RUNX1, IKZF1 and EP300) and histone-modifying genes (48%; EZH2, EED, SUZ12, SETD2 and EP300). We also identified new targets of recurrent mutation including DNM2, ECT2L and RELN. The mutational spectrum is similar to myeloid tumours, and moreover, the global transcriptional profile of ETP ALL was similar to that of normal and myeloid leukaemia haematopoietic stem cells. These findings suggest that addition of myeloid-directed therapies might improve the poor outcome of ETP ALL.
Cytosolic DNA induces type-I interferons and other cytokines that are important for antimicrobial defense but can also result in autoimmunity. This DNA signaling pathway requires the adaptor protein STING and the transcription factor IRF3, but the mechanism of DNA sensing is unclear. Here we showed that mammalian cytosolic extracts synthesized cyclic-GMP-AMP (cGAMP) in vitro from ATP and GTP in the presence of DNA but not RNA. DNA transfection or DNA virus infection of mammalian cells also triggered cGAMP production. cGAMP bound to STING, leading to the activation of IRF3 and induction of interferon-β. Thus, cGAMP represents the first cyclic di-nucleotide in metazoa and it functions as an endogenous second messenger that triggers interferon production in response to cytosolic DNA.
During virus infection, the adaptor proteins MAVS and STING transduce signals from the cytosolic nucleic acid sensors RIG-I and cGAS, respectively, to induce type I interferons (IFNs) and other antiviral molecules. Here we show that MAVS and STING harbor two conserved serine and threonine clusters that are phosphorylated by the kinases IKK and/or TBK1 in response to stimulation. Phosphorylated MAVS and STING then bind to a positively charged surface of interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) and thereby recruit IRF3 for its phosphorylation and activation by TBK1. We further show that TRIF, an adaptor protein in Toll-like receptor signaling, activates IRF3 through a similar phosphorylation-dependent mechanism. These results reveal that phosphorylation of innate adaptor proteins is an essential and conserved mechanism that selectively recruits IRF3 to activate the type I IFN pathway.
The genetic basis of hypodiploid acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a subtype of ALL characterized by aneuploidy and poor outcome, is unknown. Genomic profiling of 124 hypodiploid ALL cases, including whole genome and exome sequencing of 40 cases, identified two subtypes that differ in severity of aneuploidy, transcriptional profile and submicroscopic genetic alterations. Near haploid cases with 24–31 chromosomes harbor alterations targeting receptor tyrosine kinase- and Ras signaling (71%) and the lymphoid transcription factor IKZF3 (AIOLOS; 13%). In contrast, low hypodiploid ALL with 32–39 chromosomes are characterized by TP53 alterations (91.2%) which are commonly present in non-tumor cells, and alterations of IKZF2 (HELIOS; 53%) and RB1 (41%). Both near haploid and low hypodiploid tumors exhibit activation of Ras- and PI3K signaling pathways, and are sensitive to PI3K inhibitors, indicating that these drugs should be explored as a new therapeutic strategy for this aggressive form of leukemia.
SUMMARY RIG-I detects invading viral RNA and activates the transcription factors NF-κB and IRF3 through the mitochondrial protein MAVS. Here we show that RNA bearing 5′-triphosphate strongly activates the RIG-I–IRF3 signaling cascade in a reconstituted system composed of RIG-I, mitochondria and cytosol. Activation of RIG-I requires not only RNA, but also polyubiquitin chains linked through lysine-63 (K63) of ubiquitin. RIG-I binds specifically to K63 polyubiquitin chains through its tandem CARD domains in a manner that depends on RNA and ATP. Mutations in the CARD domains that abrogate ubiquitin binding also impair RIG-I activation. Remarkably, unanchored K63 ubiquitin chains, which are not conjugated to any target protein, potently activate RIG-I. These ubiquitin chains function as an endogenous ligand of RIG-I in human cells. Our results delineate the mechanism of RIG-I activation, identify CARD domains as a new ubiquitin sensor, and demonstrate that unanchored K63 polyubiquitin chains are signaling molecules in antiviral innate immunity.
Proteasomal receptors that recognize ubiquitin chains attached to substrates are key mediators of selective protein degradation in eukaryotes. Here we report the identification of a new ubiquitin receptor, Rpn13/ARM1, a known component of the proteasome. Rpn13 binds ubiquitin via a conserved N-terminal region termed the Pru domain (Pleckstrin-like receptor for ubiquitin), which binds K48-linked diubiquitin with an affinity of ∼90 nM. Like proteasomal ubiquitin receptor Rpn10/S5a, Rpn13 also binds ubiquitin-like domains of the UBL/UBA family of ubiquitin receptors. A synthetic phenotype results in yeast when specific mutations of the ubiquitin binding sites of Rpn10 and Rpn13 are combined, indicating functional linkage between these ubiquitin receptors. Since Rpn13 is also the proteasomal receptor for Uch37, a deubiquitinating enzyme, our findings suggest a coupling of chain recognition and disassembly at the proteasome.In eukaryotes, selective protein degradation is performed primarily by the ubiquitinproteasome pathway. The 26S proteasome is a huge macromolecular machine that contains a proteolytically active 20S core particle (CP) capped at one or both ends by a 19S regulatory particle (RP)1. The RP recognizes ubiquitinated substrates, deconjugates ubiquitin chains, and unfolds substrates prior to their translocation into the CP. Proteasome subunit Rpn10/ S5a was shown to bind ubiquitin chains via ubiquitin-interaction motifs (UIMs)2. Receptors were subsequently identified that are not integral proteasome subunits, but deliver ubiquitinated targets to the proteasome (for reviews, see 5 and 6). Canonical members of this UBL/UBA family of receptors are Rad23 (hHR23a/b in humans), Dsk2 (hPLIC-1/2 in humans) and Ddi13 , 4 , 7 -9. UBA domains bind ubiquitin  and UBL domains interact reversibly with the proteasome, principally via Rpn1, but potentially also via Rpn10 13-15 . Using a yeast two-hybrid screen, with a bait of ubiquitin lacking the last two glycines to prevent its conjugation 25 , we identified the N-terminal segment of human Rpn13 (hRpn13) as a ubiquitin-binding partner. The interaction was confirmed using murine Rpn13 (mRpn13) as bait against monoubiquitin and Rpn2 as prey ( Figure 1A). Rpn13 from S. cerevisiae (scRpn13) aligns with the ubiquitin-binding N-terminal region of hRpn13 ( Figure 1B). Comprehensive sequence analysis using profiles and Hidden Markov Models failed to reveal similarity to known ubiquitin-or proteasome-binding motifs ( Figure 1C and data not shown). Deletion mutants encompassing residues 1-150 were tested for tetraubiquitin binding, thus mapping the minimal binding domain to residues 1-130 ( Figure 1D). Although smaller fragments of mRpn13 also showed detectable binding to ubiquitin, they were unstable and expressed poorly as GST-fusions.The significance of the ubiquitin-Rpn13 interaction would be supported if it were conserved from yeast to mammals, particularly as budding yeast Rpn13 is truncated and the conserved N-terminal region ( Figure 1C) only 25% id...
The mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS) mediates the activation of NFkappaB and IRFs and the induction of interferons in response to viral infection. In vitro studies have also suggested that MAVS is required for interferon induction by cytosolic DNA, but the in vivo evidence is lacking. By generating MAVS-deficient mice, here we show that loss of MAVS abolished viral induction of interferons and prevented the activation of NFkappaB and IRF3 in multiple cell types, except plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs). However, MAVS was not required for interferon induction by cytosolic DNA or by Listeria monocytogenes. Mice lacking MAVS were viable and fertile, but they failed to induce interferons in response to poly(I:C) stimulation and were severely compromised in immune defense against viral infection. These results provide the in vivo evidence that the cytosolic viral signaling pathway through MAVS is specifically required for innate immune responses against viral infection.
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