Polyglutamine binding protein 1 (PQBP1) inhibits innate immune responses to cytosolic DNA

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Abstract

Recent studies have highlighted the importance of immune sensing of cytosolic DNA of both pathogen and host origin. We aimed to examine the role of DNA sensors interferon-γ-inducible protein 16 (IFI16) and cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) in responding to cytosolic DNA. We show IFI16 and cGAS can synergistically induce IFNb transcriptional activity in response to cytoplasmic DNA. We also examined the role of polyglutamine binding protein 1 (PQBP1), a protein predominantly expressed in lymphoid and myeloid cells that has been shown to lead to type I interferon production in response to retroviral infection. We show PQBP1 associates with cGAS and IFI16 in THP-1 cells. Unexpectedly, knockout of PQBP1 in THP-1 cells causes significantly increased type I IFN production in response to transfected cytosolic nucleic acids or DNA damage, unlike what is seen in response to retroviral infection. Overexpression of PQBP1 in HEK293T cells impairs IFI16/cGAS-induced IFNb transcriptional activity. In human cancer patients, low expression of PQBP1 is correlated with improved survival, the opposite correlation of that seen with cGAS or IFI16 expression. Our findings suggest that PQBP1 inhibits IFI16/cGAS-induced signaling in response to cytosolic DNA, in contrast to the role of this protein in response to retroviral infection.

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