Editors' ChoiceCancer

Viral oncogenes remove the host's STING

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Sci. Signal.  03 Nov 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 401, pp. ec327
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aad7729

Cancer-causing viruses, such as the humanpapillomavirus (HPV) that causes cervical cancer, account for 12% of human cancers. One way they can cause cancer is by targeting tumor suppressor proteins in the host. Now Lau et al. report that DNA tumor viruses can also thwart the host's immune system. Oncogenes from HPV and human adenovirus bound to the protein STING, a key component of the cGAS-STING pathway that senses and defends against intracellular DNA. In this way, the viruses subvert the host's antiviral immunity and set up shop, which, for an unlucky few, eventually causes cancer.

L. Lau, E. E. Gray, R. L. Brunette, D. B. Stetson, DNA tumor virus oncogenes antagonize the cGAS-STING DNA-sensing pathway. Science 350, 568–571 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]