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Immunity. 2006 Jan;24(1):93-103.

Recognition of cytosolic DNA activates an IRF3-dependent innate immune response.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Section of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Nucleic acid recognition upon viral infection triggers type I interferon production. Viral RNA is detected by both endosomal, TLR-dependent and cytosolic, RIG-I/MDA5-dependent pathways. TLR9 is the only known sensor of foreign DNA; it is unknown whether innate immune recognition of DNA exists in the cytosol. Here we present evidence that cytosolic DNA activates a potent type I interferon response to the invasive bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The noninvasive Legionella pneumophila triggers an identical response through its type IV secretion system. Activation of type I interferons by cytosolic DNA is TLR independent and requires IRF3 but occurs without detectable activation of NF-kappaB and MAP kinases. Microarray analyses reveal a unique but overlapping gene-expression program activated by cytosolic DNA compared to TLR9- and RIG-I/MDA5-dependent responses. These findings define an innate immune response to DNA linked to type I interferon production.

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