The Francis Crick Institute
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Micronuclei induced by radiation, replication stress, or chromosome segregation errors do not activate cGAS-STING.

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-12, 10:43 authored by Tohru Takaki, Rhona Millar, Crispin T Hiley, Simon J Boulton
The cyclic guanosine monophosphate (GMP)-AMP synthase (cGAS)-stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway plays a pivotal role in innate immune responses to viral infection and inhibition of autoimmunity. Recent studies have suggested that micronuclei formed by genotoxic stress can activate innate immune signaling via the cGAS-STING pathway. Here, we investigated cGAS localization, activation, and downstream signaling from micronuclei induced by ionizing radiation, replication stress, and chromosome segregation errors. Although cGAS localized to ruptured micronuclei via binding to self-DNA, we failed to observe cGAS activation; cGAMP production; downstream phosphorylation of STING, TBK1, or IRF3; nuclear accumulation of IRF3; or expression of interferon-stimulated genes. Failure to activate the cGAS-STING pathway was observed across primary and immortalized cell lines, which retained the ability to activate the cGAS-STING pathway in response to dsDNA or modified vaccinia virus infection. We provide evidence that micronuclei formed by genotoxic insults contain histone-bound self-DNA, which we show is inhibitory to cGAS activation in cells.


Crick (Grant ID: CC2057, Grant title: Boulton CC2057) European Research Council (Grant ID: 742437 - TelMetab, Grant title: ERC 742437 - TelMetab)