Editors' ChoiceImmunology

Alarm Bells

Sci. Signal.  24 Sep 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 294, pp. ec232
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004740

The presence of DNA in the cytosol of mammalian cells is a danger signal, which indicates, for example, that a DNA-containing virus has infected the cell. This signal triggers an innate immune response, which involves the expression of type I interferons, and is critical for antiviral immunity and responses to DNA vaccines. Cyclic guanosine monophosphate–adenosine monophosphate synthase (cGAS) was recently identified as a sensor of cytosolic DNA. Li et al. now use knockout mice to provide genetic evidence that, in multiple cell types, cGAS is the primary DNA sensor required for the type I interferon response in vivo.

X.-D. Li, J. Wu, D. Gao, H. Wang, L. Sun, Z. J. Chen, Pivotal roles of cGAS-cGAMP signaling in antiviral defense and immune adjuvant effects. Science 341, 1390–1394 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]