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The DNA sensor cGAS detects cytosolic DNA and instigates type I interferon (IFN) expression. Recent studies find that cGAS also localizes in the nucleus and binds the chromatin. Despite the mechanism controlling nuclear cGAS activation is well elucidated, whether nuclear cGAS participates in DNA sensing is unclear. Here, we report that herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) infection caused the release of cGAS from the chromatin into the nuclear soluble fraction. Like its cytosolic counterpart, the leaked nuclear soluble cGAS also sensed viral DNA, produced cGAMP, and induced mRNA expression of type I IFN and interferon-stimulated genes. Consistently, the nuclear soluble cGAS limited HSV-1 infection. Furthermore, enzyme-deficient mutation (D307A) or cGAS inhibitor RU.251 abolished nuclear cGAS-mediated innate immune responses, suggesting that enzymatic activity is also required for nuclear soluble cGAS. Taken all together, our study demonstrates that nuclear soluble cGAS acts as a nuclear DNA sensor detecting nuclear-replicating DNA viruses. © 2022. The Author(s).


Yakun Wu, Kun Song, Wenzhuo Hao, Jack Li, Lingyan Wang, Shitao Li. Nuclear soluble cGAS senses double-stranded DNA virus infection. Communications biology. 2022 May 10;5(1):433

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PMID: 35538147

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