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Sci Rep. 2015 Oct 6;5:14756. doi: 10.1038/srep14756.

IL-1α is a DNA damage sensor linking genotoxic stress signaling to sterile inflammation and innate immunity.

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Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS UMR 7104, INSERM U 964, Université de Strasbourg, 67404 Illkirch, France.
Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, 79108 Freiburg, Germany.
The Shraga Segal Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 84105 Beer-Sheva, Israel.
Bioimaging Center and Center for Applied Photonics, Department of Biology and Department of Physics, University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany.
Department of Dermatology, Medical Center and Faculty of Biology, University of Freiburg, 79104 Freiburg, Germany.
BIOSS, Faculty of Biology III, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO USA.


Environmental signals can be translated into chromatin changes, which alter gene expression. Here we report a novel concept that cells can signal chromatin damage from the nucleus back to the surrounding tissue through the cytokine interleukin-1alpha (IL-1α). Thus, in addition to its role as a danger signal, which occurs when the cytokine is passively released by cell necrosis, IL-1α could directly sense DNA damage and act as signal for genotoxic stress without loss of cell integrity. Here we demonstrate localization of the cytokine to DNA-damage sites and its subsequent secretion. Interestingly, its nucleo-cytosolic shuttling after DNA damage sensing is regulated by histone deacetylases (HDAC) and IL-1α acetylation. To demonstrate the physiological significance of this newly discovered mechanism, we used IL-1α knockout mice and show that IL-1α signaling after UV skin irradiation and DNA damage is important for triggering a sterile inflammatory cascade in vivo that contributes to efficient tissue repair and wound healing.

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