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J Immunol. 2017 Oct 15;199(8):2896-2909. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1601370. Epub 2017 Sep 1.

The Scaffolding Protein IQGAP1 Interacts with NLRC3 and Inhibits Type I IFN Production.

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Department of Biology, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA 17604.
Department of Biology, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA 17604


Sensing of cytosolic nucleotides is a critical initial step in the elaboration of type I IFN. One of several upstream receptors, cyclic GMP-AMP synthase, binds to cytosolic DNA and generates dicyclic nucleotides that act as secondary messengers. These secondary messengers bind directly to stimulator of IFN genes (STING). STING recruits TNFR-associated NF-κB kinase-binding kinase 1 which acts as a critical node that allows for efficient activation of IFN regulatory factors to drive the antiviral transcriptome. NLRC3 is a recently characterized nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich repeat containing protein (NLR) that negatively regulates the type I IFN pathway by inhibiting subcellular redistribution and effective signaling of STING, thus blunting the transcription of type I IFNs. NLRC3 is predominantly expressed in lymphoid and myeloid cells. IQGAP1 was identified as a putative interacting partner of NLRC3 through yeast two-hybrid screening. In this article, we show that IQGAP1 associates with NLRC3 and can disrupt the NLRC3-STING interaction in the cytosol of human epithelial cells. Furthermore, knockdown of IQGAP1 in THP1 and HeLa cells causes significantly more IFN-β production in response to cytosolic nucleic acids. This result phenocopies NLRC3-deficient macrophages and fibroblasts and short hairpin RNA knockdown of NLRC3 in THP1 cells. Our findings suggest that IQGAP1 is a novel regulator of type I IFN production, possibly via interacting with NLRC3 in human monocytic and epithelial cells.

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